EDITORIAL: Clean up voter register to ensure integrity of poll


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Since the advent of multiparty democracy, the opposition has often accused the ruling party of manipulating electoral outcomes.

One of the most common complaints has been that details of dead voters are used to sway the results.

Many past attempts by the electoral management body to clean up the register have failed to end the suspicion.

It was therefore important to have an independent auditor undertake scrutiny of the roll to restore public confidence in the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) and most importantly in the electoral process.

And after 30 days of auditing, KPMG submitted a voluminous report to IEBC, which will also be forwarded to Parliament.

The audit not only reveals that more than a million dead voters exist in the register, but also highlights the legal and institutional challenges that could deny the voter a free, fair and credible election.

With the loopholes now laid bare, it behoves the institutions charged with ensuring the credibility of the voters’ register to seal them and ensure the country heads to the General Election with a clean and verifiable register.

It is, of course, true there will be details of dead voters in any voters roll in the world due to natural attrition.

However, what is crucial is to clean the register regularly to avoid mischief.

The IEBC needs to expunge the dead voters from the register and validate the inaccuracies KPMG has highlighted in the report and present the electorate with a clean voters roll.

Failure to do this in consultation with key stakeholders, mainly political parties, civil society and relevant government agencies will undermine trust in the electoral process.

Whereas it easy to point fingers at IEBC for any failure to implement the recommendations, Parliament must also take it upon itself to align the existing laws with the current needs of the country by enacting laws that will link the State agencies that hold the critical registration records and share the data in their possession.

This is the minimum the voters expect from Parliament as Kenya prepares for yet another closely fought election where queries have already been raised by the opposition and civil society with regard to the integrity of the electoral process.

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