Court suspends mandatory use of manual register

An image of a judge's gavel. [PHOTO | COURTESY]

The Court of Appeal has suspended a High Court decision that directed the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission to use the manual register.

The appellate court said, “UDA has made a case for the grant of the orders of a stay of the entire judgment delivered on August 4, 2022, in the Nairobi High Court in the constitutional petition E306 of 2022 pending the hearing and determination of the intended appeal.”

The ruling comes after the party filed an application through lawyer Elias Mutuma challenging last’s week decision. 

Mutuma said the integrity of the general election is likely to be compromised by the possibility of misuse of the manual voter register since a manual register lacks safeguards for enhancing credibility. 

UDA further said there is an apparent and real likelihood of a serious conflict and confusion in terms of enforcement and implementation of law dealing with the mode of identification of voters during the election.

Through an affidavit sworn by the UDA secretary general Veronica Maina, the party said the judge made an error in law by failing to appreciate that there is no room for the use of a manual register as the primary means of voter identification.

The party further said that doing so would make the provisions of Section 44 of the Elections Act obtuse and academic.

UDA said the section ensures that there is a complementary mechanism for identification of voters, and will only come into operation upon the total collapse of technology.

They have also faulted the judge for failing to appreciate that the IEBC had not in any way thrown away the option of the use of the printed voter register, but had instead preserved its use as the last resort and in accordance with the provisions of the law.

“The learned judge ignored the rationale behind the decision of not using a manual register, which was arrived at after it was established that the same was open to manipulation since it lacked safeguards to ensure the integrity of the electoral process,” Maina said.

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