ELECTION 2022

Kenyans in diaspora want deadline extension for voter registration

Kenyans in diaspora want IEBC to explore the use of technology including the registration through secure online platforms

In Summary

•In a statement on Saturday, the Kenya Diaspora Alliance (KDA) which consists of 46 Kenyan diaspora organizations around the globe faulted IEBC for giving 15 days to the Kenyans in diaspora  to register as voters yet other citizens in Kenya have been given 3 weeks.

•Kenyans in diaspora want IEBC to explore the use of technology including the registration through secure online platforms

IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati at an engagement forum by IEBC and faith-based organisations at Hermosa Gardens on September 22, 2021.
CHEBUKATI: IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati at an engagement forum by IEBC and faith-based organisations at Hermosa Gardens on September 22, 2021.
Image: FILE

Kenyans in diaspora want IEBC to extend the deadline for voter registration from 15 days to at least six weeks.

In a statement on Saturday, the Kenya Diaspora Alliance (KDA) which consists of 46 Kenyan diaspora organizations around the globe faulted IEBC for giving 15 days to the Kenyans in diaspora  to register as voters yet other citizens in Kenya have been given 3 weeks.

"This discrepancy in the time limits and denies the Kenyans in the diaspora a fair opportunity to register in their numbers," the KDA said.

The alliance also said that some of the diaspora quarters now listed for registration cover large areas spanning states, counties and continents. This means that the Kenyan who wishes to vote must travel over long distance and often expensively to register as a voter.

"The Kenyan Embassies and High Commissions earmarked as registration centres are inadequate, and logistically challenging for Kenyans who have to travel long distances to register, and in some cases 2have to pay handsomely to stay at hotels in expensive cities. This in itself negates the spirit and objective of the exercise," the alliance said.

In the statement, KDA made several recommendations to IEBC including increase of registration and voting stations  just like it is for the Citizens in Kenya so as to improve access to registration.

It recommended that mobile registration should be conducted in places with high concentration of Kenyans, such as in Johannesburg (RSA), Minneapolis, Boston (USA), Manchester(UK), among others.

"IEBC should immediately revoke and renounce the irregular demand that diasporas in some jurisdictions can only vote with valid passports; the Constitution is very clear that a citizen can register to vote with either a valid passport or national ID," KDA said.

"IEBC should urgently engage concerned sister government agencies to expedite issuance, re-issuance of IDs and issuance or renewal of expired passports to facilitate the process."

The alliance also recommended IEBC to explore the use of technology including the registration through secure mobile or online platforms (e.g. e-citizen, i-vote.net and other acceptable online registration)

Lastly, KDA said that IEBC should consult constructively with leading, known Kenyan Diaspora formations so that the exercise of such rights is maximized.

"It (IEBC) should ensure that only credible organizations are involved in their jurisdictions, to prevent the risk of any irregularities, malpractices and misuse of privilege that could later lead to contestations and/or litigations," KDA said.