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Covid-19 travel bans affect IEBC diaspora voter listing drive

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Voter registration exercise for Kenyans living in the diaspora is underway in various countries.

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) rolled out the drive Friday for a period of 15 days.

The exercise will be carried out in the 18 registration centres in the following countries; the United States of America, Canada, United Kingdom, Germany, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, South Sudan, Burundi, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and South Africa.

The electoral body’s Chairman Wafula Chebukati stated that the registration exercise will be conducted “during the official working hours at the Kenyan Embassies, High Commission and Consulates in the respective countries.

However, due to COVID -19 related travel restrictions and logistical challenges, the exercise will not take place as scheduled in Kenya High Commission in London, Canada (Kenya High Commission in Ottawa, Kenya Honorary Consulate in Toronto and Kenya Honorary Consulate in Vancouver) and United Arab Emirates (Kenya Embassy in United Arab Emirates and Kenya Consulate in Dubai).

“The Commission regrets the delay in rolling out the voter registration exercise in the affected countries and is closely working with the relevant authorities to ensure it kicks off,” said Chebukati in a statement.

The poll body has pledged to extend the exercise in the affected countries to make up for the lost days.

“Upon commencement, the exercise will be extended by the number of days lost to ensure that eligible voters are availed the set 15 days for registration,” said the Chair.

He affirmed the Commission’s commitment to afford Kenyans in the affected diaspora countries the opportunity to exercise their democratic right to register as voters to enable them to participate in the upcoming August 9 polls.

Meanwhile, IEBC has gazetted August 9 as the date for the general election.

In the gazette notice, Chebukati also listed the timelines for the various pre-election processes.

He said that a political party intending to present a Presidential candidate through direct nominations or party primaries shall submit the name of the person nominated to contest in the election to the Commission on or before Thursday, 28th April 2022.

Chebukati further said Candidates intending to participate in the election as independent candidates shall not be members of any registered political party by May 2nd, 2022, at least 3 months before the General Election.

He also said that a public officer who intends to contest in the General Election shall resign from public office by Wednesday, February 9th 2022.

The IEBC boss said the campaign period for purposes of the August 9th general election will officially commence on Sunday, 29th May 2022.





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