The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) is laying ground for the next General Election despite a row over the poll date.
On Wednesday, the electoral body conducted a voter education exercise ahead of mock elections planned for Saturday in Kajiado North and Malindi even as it insisted the March 4, 2013 election date still stands unless Parliament or the courts decides otherwise.
Commissioner Albert Bwire, however, described the debate as healthy.
The mock elections are meant to test the six-ballot election and identify any challenges in terms of cost or logistics so as to find solutions before the actual polling.
Mr Bwire said ballot papers for the six elective positions will bear different colours to avoid confusion and ease voting.
He said the mock elections are meant to help identify gaps to be used as a learning point ahead of the General Election.
“For instance, we want to determine how long voting will take, speed of voting and the number of voters that could be handled in a polling centre. We want to sort out issues of logistical challenges” Mr Bwire said at Ngong Watakatifu Catholic Centre, Nairobi.
Mr Bwire said Kajiado North was chosen for the mock polls because it has both urban and rural voters and that the IEBC "wants to see how they vote".
Mr Bwire said IEBC targets 30,000 voters in Kajiado North to participate in the exercise.
The mock elections are to be held in 12 out of 18 wards in Kajiado North. Some 117 polling stations are to be used.
Mr Bwire said preparations for Kenyans in the Diaspora to vote in the next elections have been affected by government delay to put in place regulations for dual citizenship.
“The IEBC and the government are working on the issue,” Mr Bwire said.
On Saturday, the IEBC set March 4, 2013 as the date for the next elections, sparking opposition from those who want the polls held this year.
But Wednesday, Mr Bwire insisted the decision was arrived at after wide consultation and that it could be changed if Parliament sets a new date or court rules differently.
Announcing the date, IEBC chairman Issack Hassan said Prime Minister Raila Odinga and President Kibaki had failed to agree on a date for the elections thus leaving the Commission with the option of determining the date.
Mr Hassan said the country needed to know the date of the elections to remove "uncertainty, anxiety and suspense surrounding this date".
He called on all Kenyans to be "understanding and support the Commission in delivering peaceful, free, and credible elections".
IEBC has since advertised for recruitment of new staff in various fields. The Commission seeks to recruit professionals in voter registration, voter education, political parties, ICT, finance, legal services, communications, human Resource, planning, monitoring and evaluation, procurement, document management and library science.
It will also employ constituency election coordinators for the 80 newly created constituencies.