Kenya’s voter registration again delayed . . . [with updates]

UPDATED 10/24: IEBC Chairman Hassan spoke to the press Wednesday afternoon Nairobi time.  Bottom line is that he is “cautiously optimistic” that the Government will follow through with a commitment to make a remaining authorization of the outstanding 60% due for the first major shipment of the Biometric Voter Registration Kits. If this happens so that the kits arrive by Tuesday, the IEBC can conduct the voter registration in November.  Any further delay would have “grave consequences” rippling through the election preparations–thus jeopardizing the March 4 date.

UPDATED 10/23:  New development from Capital FM:

NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 23 – The government has assured that the next General Election will be held on schedule after the Treasury and the Attorney General approved the financing agreement for Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) kits.

Finance Minister Njeru Githae on Tuesday morning said the delay in approval of the financing agreement was due to its late arrival from France.

He said that neither the Treasury nor the Attorney General was to blame for the setback since the agreement was only received on Monday.

Original post:

Nevermind my previous post about biometric voter registration in Kenya that was to have started almost two weeks ago.  The latest glitch, as reported in The Nation, is the need for the Attorney General’s office to approve a letter of credit so the French manufacturer of the BVR kits will ship them:

According to deadlines set by IEBC in August, voter registration was supposed to be carried out in September and October. However, the exercise was now set to start on November 14.

The commission has been forced to amend its timelines several times over the past three months due to the BVR crisis.

With only 133 days left to the March 4 election, it will take 60 days to complete a proper voter listing programme involving 18 million Kenyans with 30 days being set aside for the actual registration and another 30 days for voter inspection.

The frustrated elections boss revealed that he met Prof Muigai at the sidelines of the Mashujaa Day celebrations on Saturday and pleaded with him to save the country by signing the document.

This is the sort of problem or issue that is going to be testing everyone’s patience for the duration of the process of electing a new government.

Is it necessary and legitimate for questions to be raised in granting legal approval for the letter of credit?  Hard to say;  that some players in the process openly desire to delay the election, in the context of the controversial nature of the Attorney General’s appointment in the first place, means that public and private skepticism are inevitable.