The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has declared that prisoners who will be enlisted as voters will only take part in the Presidential election.
Making the announcement on Tuesday, IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati stated that the Commission was formulating regulations to govern the participation of prisoners in the August 8 General Election.
"Prisoners will only be allowed to vote for the presidential seat. We are making proposals for regulation of their participation," Chebukati stated.
According to the Commission, the inmates would be registered between February 20-27 upon completion of the exercise in the other locations.
Over the weekend, a section of Opposition leaders had claimed that the government was planning on using prisoners to rig the upcoming election.
However, IEBC has explained the factor that led to the policy decision for the prisoners to vote in the presidential race only.
Speaking to Kenyans.co.ke, an official from the Commission explained that the decision was arrived at due to the location where the inmates would be during the voting day.
According to the official, the law allows one to only vote in the polling centre where he registered. Since the prisoners would be registered in the prisons which are located in different locations from where they come from, they would therefore not be able to vote for local leaders in those regions.
“The issue has to do with where the prisons are located since they will be the polling stations. Prisoners do not all come from the constituencies where prisons are located so if they were to vote for other positions like MCAs, it would mean bringing ballot boxes from across the country for all inmates to vote,” he explained.
The official added that to avoid disenfranchising people from regions where prisons are located, prisoners would only vote for the President.
“We don't want to disenfranchise people from the area where prisons are located. Because they are Kenyans and they are within Kenya, they are going to vote for the President and if there is a national referendum they will vote for it,” the official stated.
He added that there were plans to also register people in the diaspora who would also only vote for their preferred Presidential candidate and not any other position.