, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 12 – The Orange Democratic Movement has backed down on its planned boycott of the 30 day mass voter registration to be conducted by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission from Monday.
ODM Deputy Party Leader and Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho said the party is keen on listing the highest number of new voters in its strongholds after the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission announced it targets to register eight million voters this year alone.
“In two days time, that is on Monday, February 15, 2016, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission will embark on registration of voters ahead of 2017 elections. We are here to call on all ODM and CORD supporters who have attained the voting age to turn out at registration centres and register as voters,” Joho told a media briefing at the coalition’s offices in Upper Hill.
“As a party, we have many misgivings on IEBC and its preparations for this exercise. We would have preferred that all polling stations be used as registration centres and be provided with BVR kits. We would have preferred that IEBC and the National Government goes all out to ensure all young Kenyans are provided with identity cards so that they can register as voters.”
ODM had threatened to boycott the exercise after they disagreed with IEBC’s plan to conduct voter registration at the ward level, instead of at the polling stations.
“We did not get this wish. We will continue pushing the IEBC to be more transparent and accountable. We will keep demanding that the National Government provides identity cards to all Kenyans regardless of tribe and area of origin. We will push for our concerns to be addressed. But let us not wait. Let us face the situation as it is. Let us turn out and register beginning Monday even as we push for fairness in these processes,” he said.
Last week, CORD Party Leader Raila Odinga openly told his supporters he will not lament again in 2017 that his votes have been stolen.
“We repeat the Right Honourable Raila’s appeal and assurance. I want to add a personal commitment as Deputy Party Leader and Governor of the ODM and CORD counties of Coast, if you shall register this month and cast that vote for us in August 2017, I shall not take this podium and tell you our votes have been stolen.”
The ODM second in command further said” “Let me assure you, 2017 will not be business usual we are very well prepared and those imagining that they can do what they did in the previous elections, my friend tell them, it’s a day dream for them, we are ready we are going to have institutionalized systems within ourselves to ensure we have a clean open and fair election.”
ODM last week announced plans to launch door-to-door National Identify Card and voter registration campaign where the party branch officials will walk door-to-door to check if every adult has a national ID and voter’s card.
The party is hoping to avoid the mistakes in the last election where it says many people did not vote because leaders did not reach out to them and that was what they wanted to change.
According to senior ODM officials, the registration bid targets votes from Nyanza, Western, Coast and Eastern, its traditional backyards.
Joho urged the CORD legislators and governors to ensure their people apply for identity and voter cards adding that the coalition is optimistic that apart from ensuring that the over 1.5 million voters that failed to register are tapped, they will ensure that thousands of school leavers and young women are given ID and voters cards.