Lack of IDs lock inmates out of voter listing

The one week voter registration for inmates at Kwale prison is likely to be hampered by lack of Identity cards (IDs).

Inspector of Prisons in charge of records and documentation Mr Ondimu Dismus said the prison has 318 inmates out of which 59 have valid ID’s.

He said only 21 were already registered as voters while 238 either do not have ID’s or left them at home.

“The greatest challenge we face here is the lack of ID cards to the inmates,” said Mr Ondimu.

Despite lack of the crucial document, Assistant Commissioner of Prisons Mr Mwavita Mwangolo said the inmates have positively received the voter listing exercise.

Mr Mwavita said imprisonment does not take away an individual’s constitutional right.

“The registration of inmates is recognising their constitutional rights including so many other rights except that of the freedom of movement,” he said.

Jumaa Tsuma an inmate, could not hide his joy as he was among the first people to be registered to vote for the president of his choice during the August 8 General Election.


Mr Jumaa, however said that it would have been good to vote in all the candidates in the August 8 polls.

“I would have been more satisfied to vote for not only the presidential candidate but also for the other candidates,” he said.

Speaking while overseeing the registration, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) officer in charge of Matuga Constituency Mr Musa Juma acknowledged that the greatest challenge is the lack of IDs, but said the exercise would continue as ordered by the court.

Mr Juma urged the relatives who might be in possession of prisoners’ ID to forward them to enable the inmates register as voters and participate in the August 8 elections.

Meanwhile, the IEBC on Wednesday started listing prisoners as voters at Makueni Main GK Prison at Wote Town, Makueni County.

Mr Joseph Mukewa, the IEBC coordinator in charge of Makueni Constituency who led the exercise, said that the polls agency was planning to register 200 prisoners in the facility as voters.

“We expect to end the exercise by Sunday,” said Mr Mukewa who was accompanied by Mr John Rotich, the deputy warden in charge of the prison.

Before the actual listing of the voters, Mr Mukewa said, the convicts, some serving life sentences, were educated on why they would only vote for the president.

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