IEBC misses voter listing target by 4.5m

Thursday, November 4th, 2021 00:00 | By
Salimu Khamisi registers as a voter at Makadara Ground, Mombasa. Photo/PD/Bonface Msangi

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission has registered slightly more than 1.4 million new voters in the past month against a target of six million.

A statement released yesterday and signed by the commission’s chair Wafula Chebukati indicated 1,413,444 new voters had registered and a total of 352,679 voters have applied for transfers to other  registration centres.

Chebukati also noted that the registration exercise will run until such a time that the commission will publish a Gazette Notice suspending the continuous voter registration.

He said IEBC plans to commence voter registration for citizens residing outside the country on December 6, for a period of 15 days. “The commission will publish in the Kenya Gazette Notice the names of registartion centres and countries in which registration and voting is scheduled,” the statement said.

Meanwile the Eldoret High Court judge Eric Ogolla declined to set aside prohibitory orders that restrained the IEBC from ending the ongoing voter registration as pleaded by the electoral body.

Instead, Justice Ogolla directed that both parties in the case should appear in court at 11:30 am today for substantive hearing and determination.

Ogolla also warned the Commission against acting in contempt of court through statements issued by its senior officials to the effect that it would not extend the exercise beyond November 2.

He appeared to refer to comments made by the IEBC Vice chairperson Juliana Cherera on Tuesday ruling out any extension of the exercise due to lack of funds. 

The commission, through its social media handle yesterday announced it would comply with the High Court order.

IEBC acting chief executive officer Marjan Hussein Marjan told People Daily the commission had complied with the court’s orders while waiting to be given new directions. The High Court sitting in Eldoret had extended the exercise upto November 9.

Low turnout

A voter, Patrick Cherono, had filed an application arguing that the Electoral Commission had not met its target of registering about six million new voters.

The enhanced voter registration exercise was set to end on November 2.

A spot check by People Daily in many areas showed that registration continued yesterday in Nakuru county.

In the North Rift region, the numbers were low with some stations registering as low as 15 people per day.

Baringo county for instance registered 22,294 new voters against a target of 73,709. Tiaty constituency led by 5,975 new voters by Eldama-Ravine with 4,346 while Baringo South came third with 3,178 new voters.

Low turnout was also reported in Uasin-Gishu County where less than 30 per cent new voters were listed in the exercise.  The county was targeting 160,000 new voters during the 30-day exercise in the six sub-counties. Uasin-Gishu Governor Jackson Mandago raised concern over the low number of youth who turned up for the exercise.

“It is sad that the youth did take part in the exercise despite having the numbers to make decisions, which will dictate policies that safeguard future and current generations,” said Governor Mandago.

In the South Rift region, Narok county has registered 33,340 new voters out of a target of 78,000.

County Elections Manager Anastasia Mutua said they worked with all the stakeholders in the county to mobilise the young people to come out in large numbers to register though they did not attain even half of the target.

In Trans Nzoia, apathy among youths was blamed for the low turnout. IEBC County Manager Lazarus Chebii said that the elections body managed to list 30,706 new voters by November 2.

Door-to-door drive

“This was 39.3 per cent of the proposed target for Trans Nzoia County,” noted Chebii, adding IEBC had projected to enlist about 78,026 new voters.

In Homa Bay and Kisumu counties, the exercise continued taking place even though a few people were turning up to be registered. Kisumu County IEBC returning officer Patrick Odame said the exercise continued as the court ruled.

Odame told People Daily 42,734 new voters had been registered as of Tuesday representing 34 per cent.

“We are carrying on with the exercise as we await further advice from the commission headquarters,” he said.

Registration of new voters continued in Kakamega and Vihiga counties as low turnout persisted. The commission’s registration clerks opted to move from door to door in some regions to register voters.

—Reporting by Rawlings Otieno, Dennis Lumiti, Roy Lumbe, Wycliff Kipsang

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