As of 23 January, Kenyans residing in Qatar have two weeks to submit their names in the electoral register for the upcoming presidential elections.
Kenyans will move to the polls to elect a new president after the incumbent Uhuru Kenyatta, who will be ineligible to pursue a third term.
Elections are scheduled to be held on 9 August, as both citizens and diaspora register to vote.
The Kenyan Embassy in Qatar, who are coordinating the registration initiative that will proceed until 6 February, 2022, highlighted the importance of it whilst addressing media outlets this Saturday.
“We are indeed very grateful for the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission of Kenya (IEBC) to have considered Qatar as one of those few stations where Kenyan diaspora can be registered to participate in the upcoming presidential elections,” said Ambassador Washington A. Oloo, Charge d’Affaires at the embassy of Kenya.
The diaspora will also be allowed to register to vote from 11 other countries, namely: the United Arab Emirates, Germany, Canada, United Kingdom, United States, South Sudan, Burundi, Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda and South Africa.
Registration in the UAE, Canada, and UK had been indefinitely delayed due to COVID restrictions.
As per the law in Kenya, citizens are given three a week scope to register, whilst the diaspora are given two.
In light of this, there have been calls for a deadline extension from representatives in the diaspora, in which suggestions for the use of technology through encrypted platforms has also been put forward, to ease the process.
Concerns over lack of time to register
The ambassador assured that there will be efforts placed by his embassy to facilitate opportunities so that the registration process does not cause hindrance for many workers.
Registration will be held on weekdays from 8am to 5pm.
“What we are currently doing here is enhanced continuous voter registration for a certain period to enable the diaspora to register and participate in the election.
In this exercise, we are not only registering new voters but also those who have registered in Kenya and want to transfer their polling station here (in Doha) and vice versa,” IEBC Acting Commission Secretary and CEO Marjan Hussein, told local sources.
Marjan has reaffirmed that the registration process is simple and will only take five minutes. Residents who have previously voted need only bring their national ID card or passport to complete all steps.
The IEBC will have its own verification system to ensure there is no fraud.
Once the registration is done, an audit of the electoral register will be carried out after which an inspection and verification of the list will be completed.