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In debate on election law, it’s my way or the highway for Jubilee and Cord

While Jubilee argues that the electoral commission needs a backup in case technology fails so that voters are not locked out, their Cord counterparts argue that other democracies had done it and that allowing a manual backup is a recipe for chaos.

For Cord and Jubilee, it is the classic case of my way or the highway when it comes to the contentious amendments to the law that will govern the 2017 General Election.

On Tuesday and Thursday, the two teams engaged in fistfights with at least four members from both sides sustaining injuries, called each other names, with Cord walking out of stormy sessions twice as the Jubilee team used their numerical strength to pass the amendments.

But what exactly is the contention?

“The reason Jubilee is against biometric registration is because biometric voter registration requires each and every voter to be physically present to get his biometrics taken,” Cord secretariat chief executive Norman Magaya said.

“As a result, it would automatically exclude all ineligible and dead people from registration and thereby improve the integrity of the voter register.”

But the Jubilee team argues that it will be foolhardy to go into an election with about 1,300 polling stations out of the 3G network that will be used to transmit results.

“The perils of BVR verification are legion and a volatile political environment and context such as the 2007-08 post-election violence still weighs heavily on the mind of Kenyans,” Jubilee head of secretariat Raphael Tuju said.

“There simply has to be manual backup and the pretence that it is devoted to rigging is utter claptrap.”

Both teams have used cases of Ghana, India, Nigeria, picking aspects of the elections they say support their arguments.

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