The Anglican Church of Kenya (ACK) has faulted a plan by IEBC to use the electronic system of identifying voters in the August 9 General Election, arguing that the polls could be interrupted should technology fail.
Archbishop Jackson Ole Sapit said IEBC was running the risk of setting itself up for failure abandoning the physical register could also be disastrous as many Kenyans would be disenfranchised if the system fails at polling stations.
The new rule announced by the IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati means that voters who cannot be identified electronically will be turned away from polling stations.
At the same time the ACK head has called on Kenyans to ignore political leaders seeking elective posts with manifestos aimed at legalizing drug usage.
He asked Kenyans to be wary of Presidential contenders out to prop up “immoral and unethical manifestos”, which will fracture the social fabric of the country.
The Archbishop advised Kenyans not to elect leaders who support abortion, liberalization of sexual activities such as pornography and promoting drug use.
Archbishop Sapit warned that the decision by the electoral commission to rely on Kenya Integrated Election Management System (Kiems) kits as the only mode of voter was a risky gamble that could taint credibility of the polling process as it was susceptible to massive failure.
Speaking at Kiamunyeki ACK parish within Bahati Sub County, the Archbishop further asked IEBC to make public a list of polling stations that do not have network and explain how it will identify which tablet form 34A will be coming from given that these polling stations lack of coverage .
The commission announced that close to 1,111 polling stations are out of 3G and 4G coverage and they will use satellite modems to transmit presidential results from these stations
For the Kenya Integrated Election Management System (Kiems) kits to function there must be reliable and stable internet connectivity. Kiems kits are used to identify a voter’s bio data at the polling station using either the fingerprint or the alphanumeric search.
Mr Chebukati has maintained that the decision to phase out the complementary voter identification mechanism was borne out of cases of misuse of the physical register based on the findings of the Post-Election Report for the 2017 General Election and fresh presidential elections.
In the 2017 elections, IEBC employed a complimentary mechanism that allowed voters not identified electronically to be allowed to vote on the strength of the printed register, with candidates’ agents signing off on the fact. IEBC had in the October 26, 2017 repeat presidential elections released logs that showed that 99 per cent of the voters were identified electronically.
Archbishop Sapit affirmed that voting is a right for all Kenyans and that IEBC was constitutionally obligated to facilitate and not put potential obstacles to the citizens’ right to vote.
He added: “In 2013 and 2017 polling clerks at the time resorted to identify voters using the manual register after some kits failed to work.”
Archbishop Sapit called on Kenyans to carefully scrutinize manifestos crafted by various leaders as they should give Kenyans a glimpse of what a leader ought to be.
“Let us keep always remember that for a nation to prosper, it must be founded on ethical and moral grounds,” he said, adding that Kenyans should interrogate each and every leader by looking at their earlier statements and what they stand for.
He called for sobriety during the voting exercise while noting that Kenyans will be making decision on people who will make decisions that will affect citizens individually and collectively as a nation.
Previously, the Archbishop noted that Kenyans have voted leaders whose performance in leadership continues to haunt us and must therefore avoid leaders who will bring their evil to leadership.
The Arch-bishop noted that the Church does not have a candidate of choice, “the Church’s mandate ends at praying for the elections.
He asked politicians to respect the freedom of all Kenyans and allow them freely participate in elections. He further called on leaders to accept election results.
“We are encouraged to embrace prudence, fairness, fortitude and sobriety to guard against evil during this season. These are human virtues that order our relationship with our neighbors,” Arch-bishop Ole Sapit added.
He also called on those seeking elective positions “to avoid attacking, inciting words and slogans that divide Kenyans and which have further implication on national unity and cohesion”,
Believers have also been asked to shun bribery so as to make the right decisions at the ballot.
The ACK head asked Kenyans to be wary of leaders who speak of peaceful election but their actions don’t match their words.