By Faith Nyasuguta
So far, only 760 000 Kenyans have registered as new voters against the set target of 4.5 million by this week.
The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission(IEBC) chairman Wafula Chebukati says that the agency is concerned about the low voter registration trend since the mass listing drive which commenced on Monday October 4, is set to end on Tuesday November 2.
“A report will be going out soon for all the counties but we have only done 760 000 plus out of an expected 4.5 million. It is a very low turnout. I know Kenyans will wait until the last minute to come out, “ he said.
Chebukati said this in Nairobi during a senior officials’ meeting from the judiciary, ministry of interior, IEBC, and the national cohesion and integration commission which sought to discuss the preparations made so far, ahead of Kenya’s general elections in 2022.
The chair has called on Kenyans to take the exercise serious.
“My appeal to Kenyans is to come out in large numbers because this is the only chance where the commission will be coming near you.”
In spite of the low turnout, the IBEC chair assured Kenyans that the upcoming general elections will be free, fair and credible as they are working alongside other agencies to ensure all is set for the 2022 polls.
IEBC records show that Kenya had over 19 million voters in 2017.
Official figures show that the country has a 53.7 million plus population, with the majority being the youth.
Voter registration indifference is a growing concern even as key politicians eyeing political seats campaign across the country and call on the masses, particularly the youth to register and participate in the polls.
In a bid to increase the number of voters, the IEBC in collaboration with the University of Nairobi and College Students’ Peace Association of Kenya (UCSPAK) has officially launched the students’ voter registration drive.
This means that learners in Universities and colleges will be able to
register as voters from their respective institutions and vote at their preferred polling station in the general elections 2022.
The commission had targeted about 6 million new voters but an analysis of the number of eligible voters as shown by the latest population census shows the number of people who have attained voting age and unregistered people show a figure of about 9 million potential new voters.