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Ruto, Raila rallies fail to inspire voter registration

NATIONAL
By Moses Nyamori | October 26th 2021
ODM leader Raila Odinga poses for a photo with a newly registered voter at Khwiliba Primary School, Vihiga County. [Mumo Munuve, Standard]

Millions of eligible voters are likely to miss out on the next polls as the ongoing mass enlisting fails to meet the target.

Only 800,462 new voters have been enlisted in the last three weeks, amplifying the persistent apathy in the ongoing voter registration.

The low numbers threaten to deny the electoral commission its target of six million new voters by a big margin.

Initially, the commission had planned to conduct mass voter registration in two phases before the polls but has since ruled out the second phase due to budgetary constraints.

The implication of this is that millions of youth, who have since obtained national identification cards but have not enlisted, will be locked out of electing their leaders.

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) had targeted to register at least 4.5 million new voters by end of week three and a total of six million voters by next week Tuesday when the month-long exercise comes to an end. At the same time, the candidacy of Deputy President William Ruto and ODM leader Raila Odinga – 2022 perceived presidential front runners – has failed to entice their respective strongholds to register.

Ruto and Raila have been using their rallies across the country to appeal to their supporters to register in readiness for President Uhuru Kenyatta’s succession contest but the numbers show failure.

Uhuru’s Mt Kenya backyard has also posted dismal results.

In the vote-rich region, Nyandarua county has recorded 8,946 new voters, Nyeri 9,246, Kirinyaga 9,676 while Murangá has enlisted 12,404 new voters.

In Kiambu, only 25,427 have turned up to register, Meru has recorded 24,279 new voters, Tharaka-Nithi 6,634 while Embu has registered 7,902 new voters.

Cumulatively, the eight counties have registered a paltry 104,514 new voters out of the targeted number of 1,317,161.

Deputy President William Ruto addressing supporters in Mumias. October 22, 2021. [Benjamin Sakwa, Standard]

In Ruto’s backyard of Rift Valley, Elgeyo/Marakwet has enlisted 11,186 new voters, Uasin Gishu 20,803, Nandi 20,152, Baringo 14,998, Kericho 16,730 and Bomet 17,264.

The six counties, where the DP enjoys support, has cumulatively registered 101,133 new voters. The commission had targeted at least 621,932.

Raila’s Luo Nyanza counties of Kisumu, Homa Bay, Migori and Siaya have enlisted  79,876 new voters. In Siaya, the home county of the ODM leader, only 18,772 have been enlisted out of the 149,247 target.

Similar apathy has been witnessed in Kisumu where only 23,568 have turned up to enlist out of the 175,847 targeted.

Homa Bay has enlisted 16,086 out of 155,799 while Migori with a total of 126,446 eligible voters has only added 21,450 to IEBC’s roll of registered voters.

Kisii and Nyamira counties have enlisted 42,561 cumulatively out of the 269,569.

In Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka’s backyard of Kitui, Makueni and Machakos counties, only 53,140 new voters have been enlisted. The three counties have a combined target of 494,516 new voters.

In Western, Kakamega has recorded 29,366, Vihiga 10,901, Bungoma  28,589 while Busia has 16,260 new voters.

IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati yesterday decried the low turnout and appealed to eligible voters to seize the remaining one week to register. 

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