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NYS opens biometric data for scrutiny

The National Youth Service (NYS) on Tuesday opened its biometric data for scrutiny to address the claim by some Opposition Members of Parliament (MPs) that it was secretly registering voters.

Experts working for Cord as well as the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission were among the first to get access to confiscated NYS biometric kits at Gigiri Police Station in Nairobi.

A mob that threatened to lynch NYS agents who had the kits seized the equipment at PCEA Beulah Church in Runda in the city on Monday.

Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki said the data was solely for use by NYS in management of Youth Empowerment Programmes.

“The biometric registration was adopted by NYS in registering the Youth Empowerment Program beneficiaries to streamline identification, payment, and management of cohorts,” she said in a statement.

The NYS drive was however suspended to avoid confusion with the voter registration by the electoral commission.

Speaking at the police station, Principal Secretary Lilian Omollo said there is no link between the electoral agency and NYS data.

“Our scanners are fundamentally different and completely delinked with those of IEBC. We have 180 biometric registration kits given to NYS for purposes of registering the youth to work under different service cohorts. This has been done in 70 constituencies,” she said.

CONCURRENT EXERCISES

Embakasi South MP Irshad Sumra said they raised issues because the NYS exercise was taking place while the IEBC was registering new voters.

“They have cooperated with us and we have clarified that everything is okay. The only issue is that the timing was wrong and so it looked suspicious. We now don’t have a problem,” he said.

The MP was among party representatives who had raised issues with the NYS exercise.

Meanwhile, six Nairobi Jubilee MPs led by Roysambu’s Waihenya Ndirangu accused their Cord counterparts of spreading propaganda that the biometric voter registration (BVR) kits being used to recruit the youth in “Jubilee strongholds” in the city for the NYS programme was a ploy to rig the election.

“The same BVR machines were used in their constituencies in which thousands of youth were recruited in the first phase. Why are they spreading propaganda when it comes to our constituencies?” He posed.

The lawmakers were speaking during a press conference at Parliament Buildings in Nairobi.

Embakasi Central MP John Ndirangu said as a result of the “propaganda” spread by their rivals, the NYS had cancelled their drive.

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