By Ngumbao Kithi
The move is an attempt by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission ( IEBC) to dissuade voters from boycotting the General Election, a key demand of the outlawed Mombasa Republican Council (MRC).
However, IEBC chief executive officer James Oswago said the commission was responding to concerns of local leaders and not specifically MRC.
The IEBC official said they plan to waive some of their professional and educational requirements for polling officers in the rest of the country to ensure Coast residents get jobs at the elections. He said without
this, there might be a challenge identifying enough local people in many areas including those outside Coast Province, to man polling stations.
Oswago added that the commission is aware MRC has sued the Government for banning it, but said the IEBC wants to build trust with locals to ensure they participate in elections which is their right under the Constitution.
“I have directed our IEBC officers in the region to ensure the demands of locals are met to stop the mistrust that exists between us,” he said.
Most leaders in the province are said to be sympathetic to the MRC, which has been hostile to the commission and is suspected to be behind attacks on its officials in various parts of the region.
“Manning of polling stations will involve people from Coast Province to ensure fairness,” said IEBC chief operating officer James Oswago in Mombasa on Wednesday, where the electoral authority has been on a charm offensive against the separatist MRC.