Here’s the problem as I see it. Biometric Voter Registration requires each and every voter to be physically present to get his biometrics. So it excludes all babies and dead people from registration and by process automatically improves the integrity of the register.
Is it appropriate for Africa? Nigeria, Senegal, Ghana, Namibia, even Tanzania next door used Biometrics to make their register. We all share similar characteristics with regards to electricity and rural populations. India is an Asian example.
Is the time too short? Nigeria registered 73.5Million voters in 23days. It was initially planned for 14days. Ghana did 11Million people in 40 days. Both countries were facing election deadline issues. India registered 863,000,000 (yes million) voters with 1Million BVR kits in 3 months.
What’s the experience? In Nigeria, 7Million fake voters came off the roll, in Ghana 1.5Million were taken off. In both countries, opposition victories came after voter roll integrity.
Do we have enough machines? We have 8000 machines for an expected 44,000 polling stations. If we decide to have 1 or 2per polling station we are talking 44,000 to 88,000 machines. Nigeria procured 100,000 units for 73.5Million voters and 120,000 voting centres. Ghana procured 7000 for 23,000 centres with another 7000 back up.
How much? It cost Nigeria the equivalent of $350M and Ghana $30M for both the biometrics and EVID (Electronic Voter Identification)
Can we procure the stuff in time? Biometric machines are leased and shared everywhere. Think about this, Nigeria has 100,000 BVR kits and EVID kits lying in a store somewhere. We lent Rwanda ours recently. Given Nigeria Ghana and Tanzania next door have them in a store, why not borrow. (I mean lease of course, they can even come with the expertise)
So what’s the big issue? The Electoral commission has prevaricated over these issues for years. These things could have been procured last year or the year before. Despite the Supreme Court ruling that required them to deal with register integrity issues, they danced around for four years then now say they are out of time.
During the last Mass Voter Registration, they deployed 3500 units claiming lack of funds and malfunctional units. Despite a full four years to prepare. It was by opposition petition that the US gave the IEBC kshs 500M during the process to expand the registration kits further to 5400 and they only achieved 1.4M new voters by sheer lethargy. Disenfranchising a potential 9M unregistered people. The skewed distribution of the kits favouring certain areas during the registration (the basis of a court petition by CORD) further shows how the process was a farce. It was such games that were the basis of CORDs push for removal of the commissioners.
Therefore it’s a bizzare court submission by Jubilee currently that electronic processes will disenfranchise voters, yet the past registration drives havent. I also don’t recall their submissions for the 5million potential voters that did not make it to the ballot last time. What was the reason for “their” disenfranchisement and why wasn’t this concern evident then.
If anything, past registrations have been deliberately subverted by the commission. A court application from jubilee would have been suitable then as well.
Now either we get serious about elections, or just appoint a king to rule us forever. A deliberate push for manual voting is you just telling us you are going to rig this thing outright. And to amend the electoral amendment law (a product of careful bipartisan negotiations and concessions) by deploying police outside parliament and having legislators searched for this special sitting, tells us what the deal will be in 2017. (The basis of Millie’s outbursts and outrage). Look, Even if you want this section reviewed, why don’t you return it to the same bipartisan team? In the spirit of fairness. So you be the judge, does it constitute a legitimate case?
You can’t celebrate the last mile project as a jubilee administration success and at the same time make “electricity failure” an argument for manual systems. Pick one, either we have electricity or we don’t
Also if you have a “tyranny of numbers”, what’s to be afraid of in a proper voters roll.
Finally the nature and tone of the next elections is in your hands, whether we have a country after that is in your hands as well. Don’t rely too much on the police and military, in the end they are just human beings, when push comes to shove, they are just as divided as the rest of us. Instead, play your role in making this country a democratic oasis in this region of Africa.
PS. There’s no legitimacy to govern conferred outside the democratic process. None whatsoever