As Kenya nears elections, names of dead voters found in register

As Kenya nears the elections set to be held on August 8th this year, an audit has revealed that there are thousands of “dead voters” whose names are still in the register of voters.

According to audit firm KPMG, there are 92,277 names of dead people whose identification and names matched with those in the registered of voters.

The auditors have asked the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), the body mandated to hold elections in Kenya, to immediately expunge the names of the deceased persons from the register of voters.

Elections in Kenya, as in other parts of the world, are an emotive issue and the issue of dead voters “appearing to vote on the election day” has often led to conflict and claims of rigging by politicians.

Kenya is still feeling the effects of the 2007 post-election violence when thousands of people died and thousands more were displaced as a result of claims of electoral fraud in the presidential election results that year.

According to the audit, whose findings were presented to the electoral commission, there could be as many as 1,037,260 voters in the register who may have died between November 2012 and December last year.

The audit said that the case of the dead voters in the register was a result of weaknesses in linkages between state agencies, which result in gaps in capturing data about Kenyans. Information from the registrar of persons indicates that there are 25,323,059 Kenyans who have identity cards yet only 19,646,673 are actually registered as voters.

The audit was undertaken in line with the Election Laws (Amendment) Act 2016, which required the IEBC to engage a professional reputable firm to conduct an audit of the register of voters to verify its accuracy.

The scrutiny came about after street protests last year led by the opposition, which demanded for a credible register before the elections are held this year. The opposition claims it lost the elections in 2013 because of an inaccurate register.

Kenya is currently in the middle of campaigns, where the incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta of Jubilee party is fighting to retain his seat against his main competitor Raila Odinga of National Super Alliance (NASA).

Meanwhile, the electoral body has awarded the Sh2.5 billion contract for supply of ballot papers to Al Ghurair Printing and Publishing Company Ltd. of Dubai. The opposition has protested this move, saying the company has been closely associated with people close to Jubilee party.

IEBC has dismissed these claims, saying it had taken into consideration several issues before settling on Al Ghurair. It said among the considerations were the capacity of the firm, history of work done in Africa and the region, logistics and pricing.

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