, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 26 – The Interim Independent Electoral Commission (IIEC) on Monday said over seven million Kenyans had registered with only nine days to go before the exercise comes to an end.
IIEC Chairman Issack Hassan told Capital News that the numbers will be higher in view of the last minute rush this week.
“We have definitely over seven million voters as per last week. This week there will be higher numbers,” he said.
The IIEC has been optimistic that the registration will surpass the initial expectations of 10 million Kenyans registering for the referendum.
Last week it introduced door-to-door voter registration to counter voter apathy.
Since the introduction, Nairobi Regional Elections Coordinator Ruth Kulundu said Nairobi had realised a remarkable increase of new voters.
“I am very happy that when we started the door-to-door (registration), many more people have come to register, we have been moving to public places and several buildings within the Central Business District,” she said.
In view of encouraging many Kenyans to register, IIEC has been working late in the evenings including the weekends to allow people to register.
It also allowed people to register anywhere since the referendum will is not about electing Members of Parliament.
That has saved many Kenyans from traveling to their home districts to register since after the referendum people will be allowed to transfer their cards to their constituencies of choice.
It has also been involved in active civic education to especially persuade those who were reluctant to register.
Despite challenges of heavy rains and flooding in some areas, IIEC flew materials and its staff to ensure the exercise continued.
But convincing internally displaced persons to register has been a challenge although education and involvement of various groups has drastically convinced most of them otherwise.
Introduction of Electronic Voter Registration in 18 constituencies has also boosted the interest of Kenyans registering.
Mr Hassan hoped it will be possible to roll it out to the rest of the country in view of the 2012 general election.
EVR will end on May 22 while the manual registration will end on May 5.
Mr Hassan appealed to the Attorney General to publish the draft Constitution towards the end of the 30-day period allowed in law to give the commission ample time to prepare the new voters’ register.