The High Court has ordered the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to extend the voter registration deadline by a further three days to allow more people to register as voters.
In his ruling on a petition filed by activist Okiya Omtatah, Justice Enock Chacha said that it was the right of every Kenyan to participate in the elections and the extension of the deadline to February 19, 2017 will give more people an opportunity to vote in the August 8 polls.
“Voter registration should be a continuous process but taking into account the logistical and financial challenges I order IEBC to continue with the mass voter registration until February 19 at 6pm,” High Court judge Chacha stated.
Early in the week, the court had extended the deadline of the registration exercise which was to end on February 14 by two days to February 16, 2017.
IEBC will now be required to spend an additional Ksh210 million in the exercise, much to their chagrin.
Through their lawyer Eric Gumbo, IEBC had asked the court not to extend the deadline saying they were working on a constrained budget.
“The commission has spent Ksh70 million to maintain BVR kits and hire third parties to help with the exercise. Deadline extension means that IEBC will have to spend more money in the exercise.”
Omtatah however told the court that the deadline should be extended to allow people in remote areas to access registration centres.
He argued that there was nothing to prove that IEBC had requested for more funds from parliament and failed adding that the registration exercise should be an ongoing process and BVR kits should be at registration centres until three months to the elections.
“We cannot allow IEBC to lock out members of the public from registering as voters just because of budgetary constraints. They should make an application to the national assembly and get more funding for the exercise.”
IEBC had earlier stated that they would comply with the court and extend the registration deadline.