Kibaki starts voter enrolment

2010-03-22 20:08

Nairobi - Kenya's President Mwai Kibaki on Monday launched a fresh nationwide voter registration for the east Africa country torn apart two years ago by violence over disputed elections.

The Interim Independent Electoral Commission hopes to register 10 million voters in the exercise that runs up to May 5.

"We are launching this exercise against the background of the challenges we faced during and after the last general elections," Kibaki said in his constituency in central Kenya.

"As Kenyans, we resolved to implement the necessary reforms to modernise our electoral systems," he added.

Kibaki's victory in the December 2007 elections was contested by then opposition leader Raila Odinga who accused him of stealing the vote, sparking unrest that claimed the lives of some 1 500 people.

The two agreed to work in a unity government formed after painstaking negotiations by former UN chief Kofi Annan.

The power-sharing accord also called for wide-ranging institutional and political reforms, including the electoral process.

Kenyans are to vote this year in referendum for a new constitution and general elections in 2012.

"I take this opportunity to encourage Kenyans who qualify to vote to turn up in large numbers so as to register as voters... Do not wait for the last minute rush because that could deny you the democratic right to vote," Kibaki said.