NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 2 – The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) on Tuesday said it was working closely with the Directorate of Immigration and Registration of Persons to have more people get identity cards to facilitate registration as voters.
IEBC Communications and Corporate Affairs Manager Tabitha Mutemi said there were many Kenyans above the age of 18 who had not registered as voters due to lack of identity cards.
“We have also noted that the elderly (aged 50 plus) some of them have not also registered,” she said.
To reach out to the older population, she said, the commission was also working through various groups such as women organisations to ensure they understand their civic duty and right to vote.
IEBC conducted an Annual Voter Education Week between May 18 and May 23, aimed at engaging with the public to promote voter participation and pass information about electoral practices.
The programme aimed at also encouraging unregistered voters to register and was a platform for IEBC to correct misconceptions borne after the 2013 general election.
Based on views on the ground, Mutemi explained that IEBC is working on plans to increase the number of polling stations to shorten distances that voters travel in order to vote.
She said IEBC learnt many lessons during the 2013 General Election and its focus will be to address some of the problems experienced. In her view, early procurement and distribution of voter materials is a major area of focus that will be considered before the next elections.
She however, urged the Treasury to release money for procuring voting materials on time to avoid last minute preparations.
During the education week, the commission also advised the public to refrain from electoral malpractices such as voter bribery, hate speech among others violence.
She said IEBC will be conducting Annual Voter Education Week to engage with the public and also pass information about elections in the country.
Mutemi further urged eligible Kenyans to get registered as voters. She explained that IEBC will engage in continuous voter registration with the hope of ensuring 22 million Kenyans are registered by 2017.
In 2013, there were 14.3 million registered voters which according to Mutemi was quite low. She also announced that only 300 Kenyans had registered using the IEBC online platform.
The major challenge for Kenyans living outside to register as voters, Mutemi said, was lack of proper data.
She said it was difficult to establish the number of Kenyans living outside especially where some are living as illegal immigrants.