Activist Gladwell Otieno sues IEBC for failing to make voters’ roll public

The electoral commission has been dragged to court for failing to make public the voters’ register.

The petitioner, Gladwell Otieno, the founder and Executive Director of Africa Centre for Open Governance (Africog), argued that failure by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to open up the register for public scrutiny after the audit by KPMG, is a threat to free, fair and credible elections.

“There are noted inconsistencies in numbers of registered voters in certain areas. It is only through inspection of the register that we will be able to scrutinise and ascertain the actual number of registered voters but the commission has refused to publish it,” said Ms Otieno.

Through her lawyer Willis Otieno, Otieno wants the IEBC compelled to release a register of voters per polling station and allow public scrutiny of any errors to be corrected before August 8 elections.

RETURNING OFFICERS

She also wants the commission restrained from distributing the voter registers to constituency returning officers until the suit is determined.

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“The petitioner is apprehensive that time may run out before the public have a chance to scrutinise the register and sufficient time given for revision taking into account public views and comments,” said the lawyer.

An audit report by KPMG had discovered several discrepancies in the voter register, with 88,602 dead voters being deleted from the list.

Ms Otieno stated in her affidavit that the commission was supposed to open the register of voters for inspection 60 days to elections for a period of one month, after which they were to publish a list of registered voters per polling station.

She said despite numerous requests to the IEBC to be supplied with the voter register, the commission had refused, making her apprehensive that some discrepancies might be in the register.

According to Otieno, verification of biometric data to confirm the details of a registered voter is different from a public inspection of the register.

“What we want is for the public to confirm the details per polling station as reported by the commission and ensure that those appearing in the register are indeed those registered in the particular polling station,” she said.

She accused IEBC of disregarding electoral laws by refusing public scrutiny of the register.

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