NAIROBI, Kenya, May 15 – The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) is seeking to register 8 million more voters before the next General Election to increase participation of Kenyans in the exercise in 2017.
Speaking ahead of the Voter Education Week that kicks off next week Commission’s Chief Executive Officer Ezra Chiloba however underscored the need for the media and Civil Society organizations to take part in sensitizing the public.
He stated that this will ensure a large percentage of Kenyans make good choices when electing leaders at both the National and County levels.
“For practical purposes, we estimate that if we have resources, we can net in 8 million additional voters on our voters role. That is our responsibility as IEBC, but then there is a responsibility also of you as partners, the Media and Civil Society organizations in terms of spreading the message to all Kenyans to come and register as voters,” he said.
Chiloba pointed out that the Voter Education Week is an initiative aimed at providing voters with sufficient education on voting activities to ensure Kenyans know how they are supposed to conduct themselves.
“Registering them gives them an opportunity to participate and determine the destiny of the country. There must be specific voter education on the use of ICT in elections. As we look forward to the elections in 2017, we are saying that whatever technology that we are going to deploy, we must have that constructive dialogue between us and the citizens,” he stated.
The IEBC CEO indicated that it has further started initiating plans for the next General Election.
“The things that inform our budget allocation for the next financial year is one the voter registration exercise. We projected the use of Sh1.8 billion for the national mass voter registration exercise most of it going to operations where we have to recruit about 30,000 more staff,” he stated.
“You have to meet transport cost on a weekly basis, you have security then of course you have voter education, the mobilization of citizens. In as far as Parliament is concerned we have consensus for example, we need to do voter education,” he said.
The first ever Annual Voter Education Week will be held countrywide from Monday 18th to Friday 22nd May, 2015.
During the Annual Voter Education Week, the IEBC will seek to sensitize the public on the importance of participation in the electoral process as well boost the ongoing continuous voter registration process.
This is part of the IEBC mandate of conducting continuous voter education as set out it Article 88(4) (g) of the Constitution.
Other issues to be highlighted in the Voter Education week include inclusion and mainstreaming, party lists, political tolerance, dispute resolution mechanisms, electoral technology among others.
The voter education week will be implemented nationwide through outreach programmes to schools, electoral technology exhibition, media campaigns, onsite service delivery, open stakeholders’ forum and town hall meetings.
In the 2013 General Election the overall voter turnout was 85.99pc.
The Commission intends to improve on this commendable turnout through educating the public on the need to exercise democratic and civic rights through voting.