Bloomberg News

Kenya Says Electoral Body Must Seek Biometric-Voting System

August 03, 2012

Kenya’s Cabinet said the country’s electoral authority should use a biometric voter-registration system to build confidence in the electoral process, two days after the body canceled a tender for the equipment.

“The Cabinet advised the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission to pursue the matter of the biometric system,” according to a statement e-mailed from the presidency today in Nairobi, the capital.

Kenya is due in March to hold its first general elections since a disputed presidential vote in December 2007 triggered ethnic clashes, leaving 1,133 people dead in East Africa’s largest economy. The IEBC had pledged to use biometric technology in the next election to make the voting process more secure and boost confidence in the accuracy of the results.

On Aug. 1, the commission said it terminated the process of acquiring the biometric system and will use an optical mark reader to register voters. Biometric technology can be used to store unique physical characteristics including fingerprints and facial scans of voters in a database for identification.

Registration of Kenyan voters is expected to begin on Sept. 17, according to the IEBC.

The Cabinet at its meeting today also approved construction of a “high-speed, high-capacity” rail line running on standard gauge from the port city of Mombasa through the western town of Kisumu to Kampala, the capital of Uganda, according to the statement.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sarah McGregor in Nairobi at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew J. Barden at

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