Tens of thousands of Kenyans will be locked out of this year’s general elections because of massive defaults on national Identification Cards engineered by the Directorate of the Registration of Persons.
The Registrar of persons is denying this colossal number of Kenyans their constitutional and democratic rights by allotting the same identification card numbers to more than one person contrary to the legal requirements.
Though the Independent Electoral Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has already reported that 179, 000 registered voters are sharing the same Identification Card numbers, the Directorate for the Registration of Persons is yet to come out and explain how many Kenyans are sharing these numbers and why.
Ironically the names of the affected persons may be completely different including their geographical origins like the sub-locations, locations, divisions and districts but the digits of their ID cards that are not supposed to match indeed are the same.
According to the IEBC officials that means that they will not be allowed to vote because of this anomaly which can only be corrected by the Directorate of the Registration of Persons issuing fresh ID cards to the affected persons.
Considering the fact that to apply for a fresh ID card through the Huduma Centres takes two weeks for the cards to be ready for collection, which means the affected persons even if they applied for fresh cards this week, they may not be able to beat the voter Registration deadline of February 14th.
Then there is the critical question of how many hundreds of thousands may be sharing the same ID card numbers without being aware of the mistake made by the Directorate of the Registration of Persons? Because if the IEBC can identify 179, 000 in their register of persons who have already registered as voters, that leaves an estimated more than 9.1 million who are not registered as voters.
Apart from being locked out of participating in the general elections this year, the affected individuals will also be forced to their bankers, employers, mobile telephone service providers, driving license provider among many other things to correct the particulars of their ID.
Late last year Angaza News broke the news of how the Directorate of the Registration of Persons was issuing ID cards to more than two different persons with a single similar number in total contravention of the issuance of ID card official requirements.
Since then the Cord leaders Raila Odinga and Kalonzo Musyoka have gone public saying theirs were also affected an issue that interior minister Joseph Nkaisserry blindly described as lies without verifying to get to the truth of the matter.
Cord leader Raila Odinga reported double registration of his ID number, hours after the Interior ministry said Kalonzo Musyoka lied about a similar occurrence.
Raila said on January 18, 2017 that he was surprised to find his ID number listed under another person in the IEBC voter register.
He said IEBC clerks at Gusii Municipal Centre found his ID was registered to a woman by the name Maria Anyango and was widely quoted as saying: “This is the same approach Jubilee used to manipulate the 2013 polls.”
Kalonzo, who is Wiper leader, found that he had been sharing his ID number with a 23-year-old woman. But the IEBC and Interior ministry said the Wiper leader lied about this.
The Cord co-principal was last month shocked to find his national ID listed to another person in the IEBC voter register. While at Wagberi Primary School in Wajir East constituency, Kalonzo found his ID belongs to Salome Wanjiru Njoroge, born in 1993.
He said the revelation was clear evidence of a wider scheme to rig the August 8 general elections in favour of Jubilee. He was quoted saying: “This (also) explains why the Registrar of Persons has retained office several years after attaining the retirement age. We in Cord shall now not allow such machinations to happen.”
He said the visit was prompted by complaints that the Biometric Voter registration kits in the county were not functioning properly. The opposition will not settle for anything short of a free, fair and credible election.
Therefore the voter register must be cleaned up to stop ghost voters from participating in the elections, but clearly shows the fatal flaws contained in these registers during the previous elections where possessors of such flawed ID cards have been voting without any problems.
It therefore follows that the opposition politicians are justified to raise an alarm about the Voter Register being compromised and the possibilities of rigging at the next general elections.
However, the most critical issue here is the Directorate of the Registrar of person, why is it issuing flawed ID cards fully knowing that this is a highly important national document that virtually no adult Kenyan can do anything without it?