Low turnout as IEBC rolls out voter listing

Tuesday, January 18th, 2022 22:20 | By
Philip Manasseh, a Kisumu resident collects his voter  registration  card at Mama Grace Onyango Social Centre during the second phase of the registration  that kicked off, yesterday. Photo/PD/Viola Kosome

Politicians were yesterday mobilising their supporters to register as voters as low turnout, largely occasioned by the rains pounding various parts of the country, hampered the exercise.

In the last exercise conducted between October 4 and November 5, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) registered a paltry 1,519,294 voters against a target of 6 million. It is hoping to record more numbers this time round.

 The electoral agency revealed it had hired voter educators for all the 290 constituencies to entice more eligible Kenyans to register. The electoral agency aims to add 4.5 million new voters to its list in the next three weeks.

A constituency will have an educator for the three weeks.

Yesterday, People Daily established that voter educators will be paid Sh2,000 each per day for the 21 day extended voter listing period.

There will also be one educator for each of the 1,450 wards who will be paid Sh1,000 per day meaning by the end, they will pocket Sh6,090,000 million.

In addition, the commission has also hired 47 county educators who will be coordinating the exercise at the county level. Each of them will be paid Sh2,500 per day.

The hiring of voter educators is based on the recommendation by MPs who had demanded the IEBC to step up voter education.

In Kisumu county, leaders led by Luo Parliamentary Caucus chairman James Nyikal (Seme MP) and Kisumu County Assembly members led by Speaker Elisha Oraro launched the drive at Mama Grace Onyango Social Hall.

It comes hot on the heels of growing concerns about voter apathy in the region ahead of elections. Latest IEBC data in the region shows that Kisumu had not yet met the statistical threshold and were lagging behind the targeted numbers.

According to County IEBC coordinator Patrick Odame, the agency expects to register 130,105 voters.

In the last registration, the county polled only registered 44,666 of the targeted 173,474 based on the 6 million national target derived from IDs issued.

In Kisii county, voter registration was yesterday marred by heavy rains that pounded the area even as leaders urged the unregistered to turn up at registration centres. A spot check by People Daily showed there was a low turn out as people kept off and waited for the rain to subside before they headed to the registration centres.

Accurate data

Aspirants for governor’s seat including senator Sam Ongeri, Dagoretti North MP Simba Arati and Alfred Akunga told residents to register to take part in the elections.

“Your vote is your strength. It will help you vote for the leader you want,” Ongeri said as he drummed up support for former Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s presidential bid.

Arati, who spoke on phone, urged youths who had applied for IDs to pick them from chiefs and register. He urged youths to help elderly persons get access to registration centres.

Leaders in Bomet county were also urged to mobilise the electorate to take advantage of the last phase of the registration.

County Elections Coordinator Amos Obonyo also asked the clergy and administration officers to take the leading role in sensitising the residents to list as voters.

“We want to appeal to all the stakeholders to use their meetings and forums to urge the youth to use this opportunity register as voters, this being the last window period before the August General Election,” Obonyo.

The electoral body targets to list 90, 000 new voters across the county, being those who recently acquired their national identity cards.

In Coast region, at least 37,000 eligible voters  may fail to take part in the general election should they fail to collect their identity cards and register as voters before 2022.

 Deputy Director of National Registration Bureau Aggrey Masai said Mombasa had at least 14,000 new uncollected IDs.

 “We have made arrangements to ensure that these ID cards are distributed to the owners, we want to ensure that no Kenyan misses the opportunity to vote because of lack of ID cards,” said Masai.

 The latest data shows that Kilifi has 12,600 uncollected IDs, Taita Taveta 2,000,Tana River 1,900 and Lamu 1,100 and Kwale 1,000.

  A spot check by People Daily established that very few members of the public turned up on day one of the enhanced voter registration exercise. Most registration centres were empty as new voters gave it a wide berth.

Mombasa gubernatorial aspirant Suleiman Shahbal vowed to conduct a massive campaign to urge Mombasa youth to come out and exercise their democratic right.

“We have ask the people of Mombasa and particularly the youth, to come out and register voters, we want them to know it’s their democratic right to participate in the oncoming elections,” he said.

 In Siaya, leaders have raised concern over the high number of uncollected IDs at various registration centres.

Gem MP Elisha Odhiambo and his Alego/Usonga counterpart Samwel Atandi asked residents to collect the cards and register as voters in the ongoing mass voter registration.

According to the County Registrar of Persons Dickson Osore, a total of 4, 722 IDs were uncollected. Speaking to People Daily, the leaders said the large numbers of uncollected ID’s will deny more than 4,000 eligible voters in the county a chance to participate in the elections.

Jubilee Secretary-General Raphael Tuju pleaded with members of the local community to register in large numbers to give Raila full support on his presidential bid.

“I beg you to register in big numbers,” said Tuju. Meanwhile, the IEBC targets to register 107,000 new voters in Siaya county during the exercise.

Rains disrupted the commencement of the second phase of voter registration in Kakamega county.

 Many of the clerks hired sat idle in the various designated points of registration. Leaders, mainly politicians eyeing positions in the August 9 elections, took to social media to rally the masses to enlist as voters.

 Khwisero MP Christopher Aseka also appealed to his constituents to come out and register in large numbers.

 IEBC County Coordinator Grace Maru said the clerks would start moving door-to-door to make sure they reach all the eligible residents.  In Kiambu, residents of Kiambaa constituency will have nine additional days to register as voters.

As IEBC, the additional days are expected to replace time lost during the first round of voter registration occasioned by an election petition in court.

 A spot check in various stations across the county showed that there were at least two clerks per station, with most of the centres recording low turnout. 

In Biashara Ward, in Nakuru Town Constituency, the voter registration clerks said they had registered 8 people as at 2pm.

In Kajiado, voters who had turned up to change voting stations expressed disappointment after being turned away on grounds that IEBC had not given that option. 

By Kepher Otieno, Felix Yegon, Robert Ochoro, Harrison Kivisu, Eric Juma, Dennis Lumiti, Mathew Ndung’u, Roy Lumbe and Christine Musa 

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