Kenya’s Odinga Says Registration Delays Won't Affect Vote

Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga said the March 4 date set for national elections is “cast in stone” and won’t be affected by delays in the voter registration process.

“I want to state categorically that this country is preparing for, and will hold elections on March 4, 2013,” Odinga told reporters today in the capital, Nairobi. “Not a day earlier. Not a day later.”

Kenya has received 169 of the 15,000 biometric voter registration kits the government expected to be delivered by Oct. 22, Odinga said. The Finance Ministry has pledged to pay for the equipment within two days. Once it arrives, Kenya plans to start the process of enrolling more than 18 million eligible voters within 30 days, Ahmed Issack Hassan, chairman of the Independent and Electoral Boundaries Commission, said today.

The elections will be Kenya’s first since allegations of vote-rigging in a December 2007 presidential poll sparked two months of ethnic and political clashes that left more than 1,100 people dead in East Africa’s largest economy.

The election commission abandoned plans in July to use biometric technology to ensure voting was accurate, only to reverse itself a week later.

Kenya’s Appeals Court in July confirmed the March 4 date chosen by the election commission. The country’s two year-old constitution stipulates elections should be held the second Tuesday of August, every five years.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sarah McGregor in Nairobi at smcgregor5@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Nasreen Seria at nseria@bloomberg.net

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