August 9

16 counties with more than 500,000 votes to determine poll outcome

Friday, June 24th, 2022 02:00 | By
Azimio-One Kenya Coalition presidential running-mate Martha Karua addresses a rally in Kibra, Nairobi. PD/WILLIAM OERI
Azimio-One Kenya Coalition presidential running-mate Martha Karua addresses a rally in Kibra, Nairobi. PD/WILLIAM OERI

Sixteen counties spread across the country make up the bulk of the 22.1 million votes that are up for grabs in the next election.

With one-and-a-half months to the August 9 elections, the counties are expected to attract the highest attention of the leading presidential candidates' Deputy President William Ruto and Azimio One Kenya Coalition candidate Raila Odinga who are locked in a tight battle for the country’s presidency.

Despite the past belief that Mt Kenya counties are home to the tyranny of numbers required to nudge one to State House, the figures released by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission show that more counties may lay claim to that description.

From the voters’ register that was gazetted by the electoral agency on June 21, each of the 16 counties has over 500,000 voters pointing at the big role they will play in determining who wins the presidential race.

The counties are spread across the former eight provinces with most being cosmopolitan owing to their urban status and their location in the country.

Mt Kenya region

Apart from Nairobi, the country’s capital city which has 2,415, 310 votes and the nation’s second city, Mombasa with 641,913, the other counties are a mix of urban and rural areas but still boast of huge numbers of votes.

In Mt Kenya, Kiambu (1,275,008), Nakuru (1,054,856), Meru (772,139) and Murang’a (620,929) are the only counties with over 500,000 votes contributing significantly to the region’s high numbers.

Kakamega (844,551), Machakos (687,565) Bungoma (646,598), Kisii (637,010) and Kilifi (588,602) are also home to votes that will play a significant role in determining the outcome of the election.

All Nyanza counties, except Migori and Nyamira, have also registered over 500,000 voters in this election. The region is considered Azimio-One Kenya candidate Raila Odinga’s stronghold.

Kisii leads with 637,010 votes followed by Kisumu (606,754), Homa Bay (551,071) and Siaya (533,595).

Despite the numbers, there are concerns of low voter turnout which has been witnessed in the region in past elections.

 To address the problem, Raila and his allies have implored residents to ensure there is a 100 per cent turnout on election day.

In Rift Valley, other than Nakuru, Uasin Gishu is the only other county that has crossed the half-a-million mark with most of the counties in the region recording less than 400,000 voters.

But with 14 counties, its total number of votes makes it attractive for those eager to win in August.

The region is considered Ruto’s stronghold although counties like Narok, Kajiado, Samburu, Turkana and Trans Nzoia are considered battlegrounds.

In lower Eastern, other than Machakos, Kitui also has a significant number of votes at 532,758.

Each of the other counties in Mt Kenya region Laikipia, Embu, Nyeri, Kirinyaga, Nyandarua and Tharaka Nithi have less than 500,000 votes.

The counties with the least votes are Lamu (81,453), Isiolo (89,504), Tana River (141,096), Marsabit (166,912) and Taita Taveta (181,827).

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