Inmates at Naivasha Maximum Prison in Naivasha Constituency were accorded an opportunity to vote in the ongoing General Elections under tight security.
The corrective facility has three Polling Stations which were operational, but the Officer In-Charge of the facility; Assistant Commissioner of Prisons (ACP), Hassan Aden Ntari, said the Independent Electoral Boundaries Commission (IEBC) had registered 399 inmates as voters.
However, only 197 will vote in Tuesday`s election as some of those registered have been either transferred or released, he said.
They will, however, be voting for the presidency alone, but there is a case in court that is seeking to allow prisoners to vote at all the six levels.
The court allowed the prisoners to vote for the first time in the 2010 referendum that gave rise to the current Constitution. They then voted again in the 2017 General Elections for the Presidency.
The inmates in the country’s penal institutions are now agitating to be allowed to elect their leaders in next year’s polls. The current law only allows the prisoners to participate in electing the President.
In 2013, the High Court termed illegal the move to block them from electing their leaders as a violation of their rights. The inmates were then allowed to vote for their preferred presidential candidates in the 2017 polls.
The prisoners through Kituo Cha Sheria had in 2010 had moved to court seeking to be allowed to take part in the Constitutional referendum through petition 1 of 2010.
At the time, a five-judge bench had declared that section 43 of the Constitution does not in any way exclude inmates who are over 18 years and of sound mind and who have not committed an electoral offence from voting in a referendum.
But it limited its findings only to the referendum but in 2013, High Court Judge Justice David Majanja directed that the inmates be allowed to vote for the presidency.
The over 86,000 inmates in the country`s penal institutions now want the court to allow them to elect ward representatives, members of parliament, woman representatives, senators and governors.
The inmates at Naivasha corrective facility led by Robert Kipng`etich and Daniel Muthama were excited at the opportunity to exercise and urged the society to receive them when they are released, saying many of them had reformed.
The country goes to polls on Tuesday, August 9 with over 22million registered voters expected to elect their leaders at six levels which include; the presidential, gubernatorial, senatorial, county women representatives, members of parliament and members of county assemblies.
By Mabel Keya –Shikuku and Erastus Gichohi