November 21st 2017

Top Stories / 2017 Elections

Rigging fears grow as NYS men arrested registering voters in Runda

There have been allegations by opposition leaders that the government was using its machinery to register foreigners and others not qualified to vote in Kenya in order to shore up numbers for the governing coalition.

By Free Press Reporternewsdesk@kenyafreepress.comMonday, 13 Feb 2017 17:06 EAT

Some of the men arrested this afternoon.

Barely two days after concerned Kenyans in Eastleigh Estate in Nairobi raised the alarm over the alleged registration of foreigners at a hotel owned by a top Jubilee leader, residents of the upmarket Runda estate also in the capital this afternoon arrested several men in National Youth Service uniforms who were allegedly registering voters using biometric voter registration kits supplied by the electoral commission IEBC.

The suspects were nearly harmed by the residents, who included opposition supporters, after reports linked them to irregular registration of voters. Police arrived soon on the scene and apprehended the men, who were by this evening booked at the Gigiri Police Station as police launched investigations, according to an eyewitness who spoke to this website.

There have been allegations by opposition leaders that the government was using its machinery to register foreigners and others not qualified to vote in Kenya in order to shore up numbers for the governing coalition. The arrests happened even as three of the suspects arrested in Eastleigh yesterday (Ibrahim Haji, Mohammed Kanyare and Nurdin Kanyare) were charged in a Nairobi court with procuring election materials without the electoral commission's permission, contrary to section 3 of Election Offences Act 2016.

Shortly after their arrest, the police said that the men were recruiting youths to work on NYS contracts and had nothing to do with voter registration. The NYS has BVR kits similar to the ones used by IEBC. In March 2016, after news emerged that the IEBC had donated over 200 kits to NYS, CORD leaders raised fears that the NYS would secretly register voters in a plot to rig the upcoming elections.

“There are unsubstantiated allegations of voter registration by persons or organisations other than the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission… Invariably, it has also been claimed that the Commission had employed NYS personnel to carry out such voter registration. There’s no iota of truth in both allegations,” the Commission said.

Today, as the police insisted that the NYS was registering its own staff, IEBC communication manager Andrew Limo suggested that the registration could have been wrong. “We believe that the NYS biometric cohort registration was ill-timed especially when the Commission is undertaking voter registration campaign. Even as the investigations continue, the Commission has requested the Ministry of Devolution and Planning to suspend the NYS Cohort Biometric Registration until the process of preparing the register of voters has been completed,” he said.

Mr Limo said IEBC officers were “on the ground at the Gigiri Police Station following up on the matter.”

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