IEBC Launches Web Portal Targeting Diaspora Voters

Posted: February 20, 2015 in News
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Some three million Kenyans in the diaspora could participate in the 2017 general election following the launch of an online tool to map their location across the globe.

The web portal unveiled by the Independent and Electoral Boundaries Commission on Thursday seeks to collect data on eligible voters residing out of the country.

The electoral body said the three-month exercise targets Kenyans above 18 years with the aim of capturing accurate numbers for planning their listing as voters ahead of the general election.

“This is a progressive process of gathering evidence on eligible Kenyan voters and where they reside so that we give them an opportunity to participate in the country’s electoral process as stipulated in the constitution,” said IEBC chief executive officer Ezra Chiloba during the event.

The electoral body pointed out that the data collected through the on-line portal will enable the commission to decide on where to open up voter registration centres for listing.

“We want to capture the exact number of people eligible to vote. This is not a voter registration exercise put a data collection drive,” Chiloba said.

During the 2013 polls, IEBC registered some 2,637 voters within the East African Community of which 80% turned up to vote.

They were only allowed to participate in the election of the president following a court ruling, but on Thursday, IEBC hinted it could allow them to participate in parliamentary and county elections if massive resources required are availed.

IEBC at the same time indicated that the commission’s budget could shoot up significantly to cater for voter listing, civic education and diaspora election.

“From the experience we have when we enlisted voter in the EAC an opportunity, it is clear that the its costs five times more to register voters in diaspora” said IEBC Vice chairperson Mahiri Zaja.

She said the commission is keen top give all Kenyans, no matter where they are, an opportunity to participate in national elections.

The electoral body also assured Kenyans in the diaspora that it will keep personal information gathered confidentiial.

The commission was however hard pressed to explain to concerns from political parties representatives why it decided to launch its own portal while President Uhuru Kenyatta last year launched a diaspora on line portal.

“We shall look at how we can utilize the information already available with the consular department although it could be too general and not specific on eligible voters for purposes of an electoral process,” explained Zaja.

The events was attended by IEBC commissioners, Directors and top managers.

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