I made the effort to get registered as a voter. The process hardly took ten minutes. Very impressive and the clerks have definitely polished their act. They are warm, well spoken, helpful and kind. I speak of those at my polling station of Uhuru Gardens Primary School. It is true the voter turn-out is slow and far-spaced. But the clerks continue to wait patiently hoping to register as many as they can each day.
My dad who has been in town for treatment for the last six weeks and has about five more to go, raised a very genuine concern. He resides in a far-off constituency and wants to register as a voter only that the condition of registration holds him back. When the treatment he is undergoing is done, he will travel back and by then the voter registration period will have elapsed He mentions six other people he knows that in the same predicament.
IEBC should re-consider this and allow for visiting patients to choose their polling stations. Further-more go into hospitals to register those fit enough to sit-up. This can also be extended to students who have closed school and are visiting grandparents upcountry. There are also other students on teaching practise or industrial attachment in far-off locations who will have to come back when their tenure comes to an end.
We also have the Diaspora family that religiously travel to Kenya in December. What then? They will have missed the voter registration in their second home countries and can not register while here. Every vote counts and we beseech IEBC to reconsider their strategy and include this exception for patients, students and visiting Diaspora families. Or just overhaul the process and allow all to choose their polling station. Ben Williams Branch Manger of Bank Of Africa reminded me this morning that even with the manual system we were allowed to change our polling station from any registration point.
It is a crime to be registered twice. This we know but what if malicious people have used my details to register elsewhere? When time comes for verification could we have a short-code text service(could be a small income generator for IEBC-pegged at Kshs. 5 per verification) be set-up so that I can check using my ID number? This can also be set-up on their website so that we can query the system using our ID numbers still. Remember the double registration crisis at The Registrar of Political parties?
IEBC needs to step-up and step-out of rigidity!