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Confusion over IEBC's 2.9 million 'ghost voters'

The IEBC started the voter verification process Thursday and is set to clean the register

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On Thursday, IEBC started the process of verifying voter details in its register in the 30-day long exercise that will involve 19.53 million Kenyans who have been registered to vote in the August General Election.

There were claims that the Commission is set to delete 2.9 million voters from its register, deemed as ghost voters after a series  of meetings with the opposition.

IEBC chairman Mr Wafula Chebukati earlier said that the verification will be done concurrently with the ongoing audit by KPMG, arguing that the two processes are aimed at cleaning the register before being gazetted.

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According to the National Registration Bureau, an estimated 2.9 million people out of 28.06 million who were issued with identity cards since independence have since died. This means that over two million ghost voters exist in the register.

Already the IEBC has deployed 10,000 Kenya Integrated Elections Management Systems (KIEMS) kits to be used in identifying voters and transmitting results during the elections throughout the country’s 1,450 wards.

“The biometric verification process will give Kenyans an opportunity to familiarise themselves with the technology that will be used in the General Election,” Mr Chebukati told the press.

He added: “We appeal to all registered voters to visit any polling station within the ward to confirm their details.”

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Earlier, the NASA team had claimed that there exists massive numbers of ghost voter, prompting the IEBC to take the action.

NASA co-principals vowed to closely monitor the exercise, and had hinted at boycotting the elections if the register was not to be cleaned.

"The Commission will therefore be in a position to address issues of deceased voters, incorrect data capture and any missing details, disputed voters in the register either on the basis of age or any other issues that the audit may find and then prepare the final register,” Mr Chebukati said in a statement.

The commission called on voters to report to registration centres in their wards to confirm whether or not they will be allowed to vote, adding that it hoped the exercise will weed out ghost voters and those who were registered irregularly.

However, the IEBC has moved to caution the media over the alleged 2.9 million voters that it has been reporting.

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Earlier, there were claims that the IEBC on Thursday embarked on the voter register cleaning exercise that would see over 2.9 million ‘ghost voters’ deleted from the system, after a series of meetings with opposition leaders.

In a statement, the IEBC’s PR and Communications manager Mr Andrew Limo, the commission expressed concerns over the gravy reporting from the media.

“We wish to state that at no point during the briefing on the ongoing verification exercise did the commission, directly or indirectly, report on the existence of 2.9 million ghost voters in the voter register,” Mr Limo said in a statement.

Meanwhile, the commission has kicked off a nationwide voter verification exercise whose aim is to ascertain the voter’s details ahead of the august polls.

Mr Limo, however, has argued that there are no such voters, but instead indicated that the National Bureau's 2015 data on similarities in ID cards is in existance.

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"There are no such voters. The writer erroneously reported the story. He made reference to the National Registration Bureau statistics in 2015 that gave that estimate in 2015 alongside data on shared ID cards," Mr Limo wrote to P Live Kenya on phone.

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