, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 5 –The nationwide manual voter registration exercise has been extended to Sunday in a bid to capture more Kenyans who were locked out by the Wednesday 5pm deadline.
The Interim Independent Electoral Commission (IIEC) Chairman Issack Hassan made the announcement on Wednesday evening, about an hour after closure of the initial 45-day period.
He said the extension has been necessitated by the big response Kenyan have shown through their massive turned out in the last two days.
"We had initially not intended to extend this period but because of the extra ordinary circumstances that we have been faced with and because we want to give every Kenyan an opportunity to register all over the country, we have extended the exercise to Sunday," he said.
Mr Hassan said the government has agreed to offset the cost of the extension period.
"Of course, such an extension has a financial implication to the commission\’s budget and tomorrow (Thursday) a team led by the Commission Secretary will go to Treasury to give them what it is going to cost us for these additional days."
The Commission says that it has spent Sh52 million per day during the 45 day exercise.
A spot check by Capital News revealed that registration centres in Nairobi still had long queues even after 5pm when the exercise was supposed to close.
“When something is last-minute, that’s when you are pressured to do it,” said one voter who was waiting to register at the Holy Family Basilica.
“I have just been postponing it because I knew I still have time, now I realise I don’t have time so I had to come,” said another voter.
Others said they were not aware the deadline was Wednesday.
“I did not even get to know that the deadline was today (Wednesday), I just heard it over the radio that we are having a few minutes to go and I asked the driver to drop me here to queue.”
The electronic registration still has 16 days to conclude in a select 18 constituencies countrywide.
The Commission had targeted to register at least 10 million Kenyans from the 18 million eligible voters and had by Tuesday registered 10.5 million voters.
The Commission’s officials in more than 20,000 centers began registering voters on March 22nd.
The new voter registration exercise was undertaken after the botched 2007 General Election manned by the defunct Electoral Commission of Kenya.