NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 13 – About 10 million Kenyans have so far registered to vote in next year’s General Election with five days to the deadline, as all indicators point to a possible shortfall of the initially-targeted 18 million voters.
The chairman of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Issack Hassan is still calling for more people to register before the deadline, but emphasised on Thursday that the credibility of the election will not be eroded if the target of 18 million voters is not reached.
“We have already reached the 10 million target but we have a few more days and need people to come out and register…In 2010 we registered 12.4 million voters, only 72 percent (8 million) voted (in the August 1020 referendum). Out of these, about six million endorsed the constitution,” he said.
“We believe that whatever number we get – be it 12, 13, 14 million – we will conduct the General Election.”
The IEBC chairman said that the commission had instructed its clerks in pastoralist areas to move with the kits to areas where they could conveniently locate the communities. More vehicles have also been deployed to such areas, he added.
“We had gazetted particular centres as voter registration points but due to factors like rain, pastoralists move to areas where it has rained; so we have asked our clerks to move with the kits to watering points and register these people,” he said maintaining confidence that the 18 million target could be met.
Hassan spoke while announcing a partnership with the Nairobi City Council and the Clean Kenya Campaign which is aimed at increasing numbers of voters who turn up to register.
The voter listing exercise was launched by President Mwai Kibaki on November 19 and is expected to close next Tuesday with the IEBC making it clear that the date will not be extended.
“We are recording more numbers, so if Kenyans are coming out in more numbers we will require our staff to work overnight. We are giving instructions that so long as there is a Kenyan on the queue they will stay there until the last person is registered even if it means that the clerks will be relieved or served with more coffee,” he said emphatically.
Hassan and Nairobi Town Clerk Tom Odongo are expected to lead the Clean-up and the Voter Registration Campaign starting on Friday in Mukuru, Eastleigh, Mathare and Kibera.
The cleanup is also expected to proceed simultaneously in Mombasa, Kisumu, Eldoret and Nyeri.
Nairobi PC Njoroge Ndirangu has assured the IEBC that all the necessary security arrangements have been put in place to ensure that the exercise proceeds to conclusion without security breaches.