Kenyans in Diaspora sue IEBC over voter listing

A former Member of Parliament wants the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) compelled to extend voter registration for Kenyans in the diaspora.

Together with the Kenya Diaspora Alliance and the New Vision of Kenya, Dr Shem Ochuodho wants the IEBC ordered to register all Kenyans living in the Diaspora who have their national identity cards so that they can participate in the August elections.

They also want the IEBC to extend time for registration and submission of party lists by Kenyans in the Diaspora to vote as well as nominate candidates of their choice.

In their case documents, they argued that the two-week period allocated for those living in the diaspora to register was insufficient and unreasonable for the estimated three million Kenyans abroad.

“Most Kenyans living in the Diaspora have only weekends to register as voters as their employers are unlikely to allow them to go and register in the Embassies during work hours. They also have to travel a long distance to get to the registration centers,” Mr Ochuodho said.

They argue that the February 27 decision of IEBC to suspend continuous registration is discriminatory to them and an infringement on their right to vote.

In their suit against the IEBC and the Attorney General, they also claimed that the period was an unreasonable and faulted the IEBC of neglecting Kenyans in the diaspora.

According to Mr Ochuodho who currently lives in Juba, South Sudan, IEBC declined to heed to calls of setting up more registration centers at High Commissions and Missions as well as use more cheaper, reliable electronic voting option for those outside the country.

He also faults the IEBC of blatantly refusing to put in place mechanisms to enable Kenyans across the globe to register as voters and participate in the elections.

“If this matter is not heard on a priority basis, the many Kenyans living in the Diaspora will be locked out by IEBC and would not participate in the upcoming polls,” he said.

The case will be heard on March 21.

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