I am a Kenya Army soldier deployed in K****** barracks. On 10th september 2013, we were told that we needed to renew our armed forces job ID cards so that the name on the ID was to change to Defence Forces as per the constitutional change in the name. This was to take place immediately after the inaugration of the new constitution.
On 12th Sept the exercise began by BVR machines being brought to the barracks and our finger prints taken plus passport photos. In other instances where we were issued with the previous ID cards, we never had all our fingers taken for a simple job ID card. Taking all the 10 fingers this time was weird.
We never realised that this was an electoral process where we were being registered as voters without our knowledge. We were being put in a register. A week to the elections, all leave were cancelled and we were all ordered to be at work. Most soldiers from the Luhyia, Luo, Kamba and Kisii communities were put in formations ready to quell violence in Nyanza and Western province. This exercise involved over 60,000 soldiers.
During voter registrations, only IDs of people from Rift Valley and Central province were brought to the barracks for them to go register as voters. IDs for those from other parts of the country were missing. No clear explanation was forthcoming when we (soldiers) raised the issue with the commanders.
Before the March elections, we formed platoons “quick reaction force” which targeted mostly hotspots in Nyanza and Western provinces. Also during the election Luos and other tribes were fixed on duty while Kikuyus and Kalenjins went to vote. Previously the night before ballot boxes were brought in the barracks and were paid Ksh 1000 to vote for Uhuru.We (soldiers from other communities) were told to keep mum as the disciplinary action would be taken against anyone who talked.