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Court orders IEBC to use manual voter register during polls

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has been ordered by the High Court to use the manual voters’ register during the August 9 General Election.

Justice Mugure Thande in his ruling while reversing the decision of the electoral body to scrap manual registers further dismissed a letter that IEBC wrote to Azimio, saying they will only use KIEMs kits to identify voters.

“The court has found that the impugned decision of the Commission to abandon the printed register violates the clear provisions of the Constitution which provides that where an electronic voter identification device fails then such voter would be identified using a printed register,” Justice Mugure stated.

Justice Mugure said the move is unconstitutional and ordered the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to use the physical register to identify the voters.

“What then will happen to a registered voter whose details cannot be picked by the KIEMs kit for the failure of technology in light of the decision by IEBC not to use a printed register,” the Judge posed.

The judge found that the decision of the Commission to abandon the printed register violates the provisions of the constitution, which provides that where an electronic voter identification device fails then use of such physical register would suffice.

In his ruling Justice Mugure said if the decision is allowed to remain unchallenged the result would be that voters’ constitutional right to vote under Article 38b would be violated.

“By challenging the decision, it is evident IEBC has failed to make administrative arrangements for the conduct of the elections designed to facilitate elections and not deny an eligible citizen the right to vote as required by law,” the court ruled.

Justice Mugure further said although the commission has not acted like an unruly or engaged in caprice or malice; it has acted in violation of the constitution and law.

“As a result, of IEBC’s decision not to use the printed voter register, there is a real risk of disenfranchising eligible voters, this court must therefore step in through its supervisory jurisdiction to ensure that the commission though independent operates subject to the law,” Mugure ruled.

By Alice Gworo

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