Electoral body decries low voter turnout in ma*s listing

Thursday, January 27th, 2022 06:31 | By

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) officials yesterday decried the low turnout in the ongoing mass voter registration exercise.

IEBC officially rolled out the 21 days’ second phase of Enhanced Continuous Voter Registration (ECVR) on January 17. And with only 11 days remaining before the registration window closes, a paltry 230,000 people have registered out of a target of 4.5 million potential voters.

In Kisii County, IEBC commissioner Justus Nyang’aya said the trend is worrying.

The commissioner raised concerns about the high number of ID cards that remain uncollected to facilitate their registration.

He said 13,000 IDs lie at chiefs offices asking the applicants to pick them and register as voters. IEBC targets to register 110,000 voters in the county.

Structural challenges
The IEBC official was traversing the count to establish if there are any hitches and help resolve them. He said the commission has dispatched registration kits to every ward.

Nyang’aya said those who will be locked out of the mass registration could still do so at the constituency offices up to April.

He warned Kenyans against registering more than once, saying it is an offence. He said the commission will audit and clean the register and those with multiple registrations will not be allowed to vote.

“If youths cannot register as voters and vote, other people will elect bad leaders for them and they should not complain,” Nyang’aya said.

Similar concerns were raised by the electoral agency officials in Nandi County who also decried the low turnout.

Nandi Hills sub-county assistant registration coordinator Maxmilla Kosgei said they had only managed to register less than 900 new voters, since the exercise commenced. The sub-county targets 6,995 new voters.

Kosgei blamed the low turnout on politicians for not being on the forefront, in mobilising youth to register.

“It’s unfortunate that despite registration officers carrying out mobile voter registration, the turn out still remains low yet time is not on our side. We have appointed several voter mobilisers to ease the process, we can improve on the numbers if only politicians work hand in hand with us in persuading people to register as voters,” Kosgei pointed out.

Lack of interest
Voter mobiliser Nickson Kipkoech said lack of interest among residents was to blame for the low numbers. He said the IEBC team has organised movement schedules to ensure they reach out to everyone willing to register.

In Homa Bay County, 5,666 new voters have been enlisted since Monday last week even as area leaders are worried that the commission was not likely to reach its target.

County Returning Officer Michael Kosgei said the figure represents 5 per cent of its target. IEBC intends to register 112,000 voters in Homa Bay.
IEBC statistics indicate that 726 new voters have registered in Kasipul constituency, Kabondo Kasipul (778), Karachuonyo (1074), Rangwe 480, Homa Bay Town 546, Suba North 673 and Suba South 724 and Ndhiwa 665.
Homa Bay Deputy Governor Hamilton Orata also expressed worries the county may not realise its target.

 In Siaya County, Bondo IEBC coordinator John Matekwa raised concern that the perceived ODM line-up being propagated by section of aspirants was dis-enfranchising the voter listing exercise.

 Matekwa took issue with the already crafted line up noting that many residents had refused to register as voters because they think their leaders of choice won’t be given a chance.

A secret 2022 elections line-up had last year emerged in ODM leader Raila Odinga’s Siaya backyard, causing jitters among party aspirants over threat of exclusion.

Meanwhile, a meeting meant to mobilise new voters in Bondo sub-county, was yesterday disrupted following a disagreement among leaders.
Tempers flared forcing IEBC coordinator to walk out of the meeting called to strategiese on enhancing registration in the area.

  Business at Bondo CDF office were temporarily brought to a near standstill after a stalemate when supporters of area MP Gideon Ochanda and Parliamentary aspirant Andiwo Mwai engaged each other in a shouting match.

—Report by Robert Ochoro, Eric Juma and Noven Owiti 

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