The interim independent electoral commission (IIEC) has announced it will register prisoners to vote ahead of a referendum on the country’s proposed constitution next month.
The announcement ended speculation that the country would be forced to postpone its vote, in a referendum that has divided the country’s cabinet and religious groups.
The move to have prisoner’s vote for the first time in the history of the country was occasioned by a court ruling Wed 23rd June.
The electronic listing, which will run for one week, will be followed by a quick verification process of the inmates’ registered details as the IIEC seeks to stick to the referendum timetable.
IIEC chairman Ahmed Isaack Hassan said the move allays fears that the August 4 vote could be delayed over logistical concerns regarding the listing of the 53,000 prisoners countrywide.
A dispute resolution court ruled that prisoners, of sound mind, should be registered to vote in the plebiscite within 21 days. It also ruled that all prisons in the country should be made polling centres.
The ruling arose from a case filed by Shimo La Tewa prisoners in Mombasa, through Kituo Cha Sheria, a human rights lobby, who argued that the constitution bars them from voting in a general election but not in a referendum.
They further argued that their exclusion from the vote is unconstitutional and a violation of their rights.