over 5M Kenyans sign up to vote

April 16, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 16 – More than five million Kenyans have so far signed up in the ongoing voter registration exercise.

Interim Independent Electoral Commission (IIEC) Chief Electoral Officer James Oswago said the numbers exclude those registering electronically in 18 constituencies.

“As you can see we are doing very well; we have already registered half of our target and we expect to surpass the numbers we were targeting for the referendum,” he said.

Mr Oswago added that the IIEC expects increased registration towards the end of the exercise considering Kenyans’ ‘last minute rush’. He also revealed that many voters had registered since electronic voter registration was launched on Monday.

“I urge all eligible voters in the spirit of patriotism to register and participate in democratic processes such as elections and the expected referendum,” he said.

Mr Oswago told those unwilling to register that failing to participate in elections would only worsen leadership and other issues they are unhappy with in the running of the country.

He said:  “A vote is the power the public has and they should utilise it.”

Mr Oswago told those opposed to the constitution not to fail to register because even the No camp will require a vote.

“Every vote counts and I urge all Kenyans to play their role,” he said.

IIEC Voter Education and Partnership Director Dr Joel Mabonga said IIEC had noticed some challenges in convincing people to register.

He said internally displaced persons were unwilling to be registered because of the happenings of the 2007/2008 post election violence.

But he urged for support from political parties, the media, religious leaders and the civil society to encourage them to forge ahead and make a difference with their votes.

Mr Magonga said IIEC was meeting various groups to reach and cover more areas in the civic education which he said was still very important to empower every voter.

With about 20 days to go for the registration to close, he called on Kenyans to register saying IIEC had set up centres at convenient public places which remained open even during weekends.


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