By Raila Odinga
The Coalition for Reforms and Democracy and indeed the entire Opposition fraternity is deeply concerned by the emerging and growing cases of shared identity cards used by different people to register as voters.
Twice this week, I, Rt. Hon Raila Odinga, established that I shared my Identity Card number 4838593 with one Ms Ombai Maria Anyango who had been registered using the same card in the same polling station where I vote. I confirmed this at two different polling stations in Kisii and in Isebania in Migori County.
This happened in the same week that co-principal Hon Kalonzo Musyoka also discovered that he shared his ID card details with another voter who had been registered with similar details.
These developments are shocking and worrying. They point to criminal negligence, incompetence and failure or a product of a hasty and incompetent attempt to shore up registration numbers for some players with the involvement of the National Registration Bureau and the Ministry of Interior.
Yet the Ministry of Interior is keen to brush them aside as none issues. We demand from the ministry a very clear explanation for these occurrences and a categorical statement from the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission that this is enough reason for a thorough audit and cleaning of the voter register and that it will be done before elections. The Opposition will accept nothing less.
We also take note of the directive by President Uhuru Kenyatta that hence forth national identity cards be issued to applicants within three days of application.
This directive, while coming too late, is however in line with our long running position that the National Registration Bureau and the Ministry of Interior had performed below par and are about to disenfranchise millions of would be voters especially the youth because of the shoddy and discriminatory issuance of ID cards.
Following the directive however, we demand that the new order be applied across the board, covering every part of the country and in time to enable every Kenyan of voting age to register as a voter.
This order must not be implemented in the selective and partisan manner that favours perceived Jubilee strongholds, a trend that has been part and parcel of the Jubilee administration these past four years.
We also demand that records of the new cards be published on a weekly basis to enable the public to track the issuance and ensure no region gains unfair advantage by virtue of perceived political affiliation. All Kenyans of voting age must be facilitated to obtain national identity cards through a process that is timely and fair to all.
We also note with concern and serious misgivings the threat by interior minister Mr. Joseph Nkaissery to chiefs warning them against working with the Opposition to facilitate voter registration.
This order, primitive and misadvised as it is, goes against the principle that public servants, paid by tax payers, ought to serve the public without fear or favour in recognition of the fact that all Kenyans pay taxes and are entitled to government services regardless of political affiliation.
We demand that the President comes clean on this order by Mr. Nkaissery and assure Kenyans that it is not the position of his government that public officers like chiefs are employed to serve and work only with Jubilee leaders and supporters.
Jubilee and Mr. Nkaissery in particular must desist from returning our country to the era when civil servants doubled as agents of the ruling party and lived in perpetual fear of party functionaries.
The Jubilee administration needs to be reminded that it has a duty to build confidence in the process leading to the elections and the institution that will be running the elections.
This it can only be done by ensuring that the institutions are enabled to act impartially, efficiently, and to operate in accordance with the law. The failure to issue ID cards to those who deserve them and the threat by Mr. Nkaissery only undermine the process and the institutions and it looks deliberate.
The Kenyan Weekly newspaper is a fresh general-news publication published on newsprint once a week.