The electoral commission yesterday ruled out the possibility of extending the deadline for voter registration due later this evening despite requests by President Uhuru Kenyatta and the opposition leaders.
Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Chief Executive Officer Ezra Chiloba said the commission was already time barred in many aspects and could not spend any additional time on voter registration given the rigid timelines ahead of the election.
President Kenyatta and National Super Alliance leaders Raila Odinga, Kalonzo Musyoka and Musalia Mudavadi have, on several occasions, pleaded for an extension to allow those who freshly registered for identity cards to be listed.
The National Registration Bureau, having worked overtime at the weekend, released hundreds of IDs expected to be distributed from today but the polls team would not budge.
“Our position is that we will not extend voter listing deadline expiring tomorrow (today). As far as we are concerned the commission has made progress and we have enough voters in our register,” said Mr Chiloba.
He said in all considerations, the commission had elected not to allow any extension so that it could proceed with other programmes.
The extension, said the CEO, would also mean spending additional resources which the commission did not have and disrupting the election calendar.
“We have already listed close to 18 million people. If we delete dead voters, I think we are going to have enough representation in our register,” said Mr Chiloba who pleaded with politicians to allow the commission to move on with other programmes in order to enable adequate preparations.
The commission is yet to procure vital technology equipment following a disagreement that has led to court action by the Opposition.
The commission is also expected to enlist prisoners and Diaspora voters in five African states and train personnel from this week. “Those in East Africa will be allowed to register using the ID cards…those in South Africa will use passports,” said the commission.
But Nasa leaders are wary about the use of IDs to register Diaspora voters warning that foreigners in Uganda who may have acquired Kenyan IDs through dubious means at the border may be listed as voters. Yesterday ODM director of elections Junet Mohammed asked the polls agency to share out actual data of expected potential voters living in the five countries.
Meanwhile, the government and the electoral commission yesterday distanced themselves from claims that it was registering voters using National Youth Service (NYS) personnel.
In separate statements, NYS said: “In the past year and up to the current period, NYS has been conscripting community youth commonly referred to as cohorts into the youth empowerment programme through biometric registration.”
Additional reporting by Fred Mukinda and Dave Opiyo