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Ministry returns BVR kits to electoral commission

The ministry returned the 196 kits, saying it did not want to be accused of having used them to register people to vote.

This follows sustained claims by the Raila Odinga–led Opposition that the kits might have been used to register people to vote in the just ended 35-day mass voter enlisting drive.

More than 100 biometric voter registration kits were returned to the electoral commission by the Public Service ministry on Thursday.

On Thursday, Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki insisted that her ministry, which had used the kits to register public servants in 2014 and later the National Youth Service, had not registered any voters using the kits.

“We have returned these kits, not because we do not need them, but because we do not want to be caught in all these confusion and accusations,” she said at the agency’s office on Thursday.

Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission chairman Wafula Chebukati said there was no way the kits would have registered voters.

“We do not have any evidence that the kits were used to register any voters,” said Mr Chebukati.

A total of 200 kits were given to the Ministry list public servants.

The kits were then used to register and pay youth in the National Youth Service.

Last month, four of the 200 kits were confiscated and taken to Gigiri Police Station.

RETURNING OFFICERS

Meanwhile, the electoral commission plans to reshuffle all its returning officers in the 290 constituencies in what it hopes will cure worries of perceived bias.

Also targeted are the 47 county coordinators that Mr Chebukati said would be moved far from the counties they have worked in.

“For the first time, we are going to carry out a massive transfer of our returning officers to avoid familiarity with the aspirants,” Mr Chebukati told a two-day forum of elders from 11 ethnic groups in Limuru.

A report of the March 2013 election had shown that in all the election cases filed in court, returning officers were indicted for either commission or omission.

This, Mr Chebukati said, should stop.

“We know we have those bad eggs in the bags, they can’t miss. But I want to assure you that we will deal with our staff. Any one of us that breaks the law will be prosecuted,” he said.

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