THE BALLOT OR OTHERWISE……

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The Ballot is stronger than the Bullet.

On 1st of November, The High Court in Eldoret extended the voter registration exercise in the country, giving those who haven’t registered a chance to exercise their civic duty by November 9th.

This is after an activist from Uasin Gishu County obtained orders from the High Court sitting in Eldoret yesterday, following a successful application under a certificate of urgency.

Issuing the orders, High Court Judge Eric Ogola said the exercise is to continue until November 9th  when the application filed by Patrick Toroitich Cherono is heard.

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) in a statement has said it will not extend the countrywide mass registration of voters owing to lack of funds despite a court order.

“Pending the hearing and determination of the application, a prohibitory order be and is hereby issued prohibiting the first respondent (IEBC) or its agents acting under its authority from closing the national voter registration exercise,” reads the order.

However, IEBC Vice chairperson Speaking to a local radio station, termed the court’s decision “shocking” given that the Judiciary was aware that there are no funds to cater for such an extension. Ms. Juliana Cherera said there is no budget to carry on with the exercise even by a single day, despite the court order extending the registration to November 9th.

The Commission was allocated Sh1.2 billion out of the Sh4 billion it had requested to carry out the exercise.

The Commission had registered less than 1 million Kenyans by October 26th against a target of 4.5 million new voters by that week.

The polls agency launched the exercise on October 4th and was targeting to register at least six million new voters by November 2nd.

“The mass voter registration exercise can’t be extended. We can’t start making plans unless we have been assured of funds,” said Ms Cherera yesterday without disclosing the amount needed for the one week extension.

Our ability to participate in government, to elect our leaders and to improve our lives is contingent upon our ability to access the ballot. We know in our heart of hearts that voting is a sacred right – the fount from which all other rights flow. I say, extend the registration period.

 

 

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