Kenyans in diaspora to vote for the first time in 2017
15 January 2016, 08:11
Nairobi - Kenyans residing in other countries around the world will for the first time participate in August 2017 polls following the electoral commission's assurance that it is ready to conduct the elections.
However, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) maintained that diaspora voting exercise will only be conducted in countries harboring a minimum of 3 000 Kenyans.
IEBC Chairman, Issack Hassan who spoke during the launch of the 2015-2017 Election Operations Plan, said the Commission is ready and prepared to conduct next year's elections because the poll's dates have already been fixed unlike in 2013.
Hassan said his commission will ensure that all electoral laws are strictly followed starting from massive voter registration this year.
"At such time in the last General Elections, we didn't know when the election date was because the matter was still in court on whether it would be in December or August," said Hassan.
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He added that since it is one year and six months to the polls, the commission will be able to get all needed elections material to avoid challenges witnessed in 2013.
"Biometric Voter Registration kits are not the problem. We have 15 000 BVR kits and we are only going to use 3 000. The problem is money to employ clerks and deploy more kits for registration," said Hassan.
The launched plan requires public and civil servants seeking elective positions to quit office by February 9, 2017 among other demands such as conducting diaspora voter registration.
The IEBC Chief Executive Office, Ezra Chiloba also expressed optimism that the commission will conduct free and fair elections that meets Kenyans' expectations.
However, Chiloba added they require about KES 45 billion to implement the two unveiled plans to realize credible election results hence asked Treasury and Parliament to fast track additional funding to the commission.
The commission had requested for KES 2 billion from the National Treasury for the voter registration but was only given KES 500 million, leaving it with a deficit of KES 1.5 billion.
IEBC was allocated a total of KES 20.8 billion for the financial year 2016/17, KES 19.4 billion for 2017/18 while KES 5.1 billion will stretch to the financial year 2018/19.
However, the commission insists that it is financially constrained and has been forced to operate within the budgetary allocation.
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