NAIROBI, Kenya 19 – Hundreds of Kenyans have been flocking to Huduma Centres in last minute efforts to begin the process of acquiring a voters’ card in the ongoing Mass Voter Registration (MVR).
Though the long queues outside the GPO Huduma offices quickly disappeared as soon as they built up, inside the hall were hundreds of people getting services.
They had labels of numbers 1 to 550.
The organisation outside and inside the centre was impressive.
It was the only way to deal with the large numbers of people who kept on arriving one after another.
There were security guards and ushers positioned at the entrance to direct service seekers to the respective sitting places and desks.
Capital FM News caught up with Huduma Centre Supervisor in charge of National Registration Bureau Desk, Maxim Itur.
He was happy to explain how the centre was handling the sudden upsurge of ID seekers.
Itur is in charge of Counter Number 1 that deals with issuance of duplicate ID cards for those with old generation cards, lost IDs and mutilated ones.
“Kenyans like coming at the 11th hour. The numbers of customers started increasing when the government announced the commencement of registration of voters. They are coming in masses,” he explained.
Because of the high numbers, the centre which opens from 7.30am to 5pm decided to handle a maximum of 550 customers per day.
“They are coming in large numbers, now we have to control them because if we allow all to come in they will all not fit in this room,” he explained.
When Capital FM News visited the facility at around midday, it was filled to capacity and was handling the first 200 customers.
As customers kept on arriving at the centre, the attendants positioned at the entrance had to re-direct those seeking to apply for new IDs to the relevant areas since the centre was only handling duplicate IDs.
Those with special needs were given priority including the old and those living with disability.
According to Itur, it was his wish that Kenyans above the age of 18 have a chance to register as voters.
However, he advised Kenyans to ensure they make use of the services that have been available at the centre for the last four years instead of waiting for the last minute.
Itur was also concerned by the large number of uncollected ID cards.
When Capital FM News arrived, there was a queue of people collecting their cards.
“Most of our customers, when they apply for duplicate ID cards, they don’t come for them. We don’t know why. But with this registration of voters they are now coming in large numbers to collect.”
One of the customers said he could not remember when he applied for the duplicate but recounted it was about two years ago.
“I am not very sure when I last came here but it has been quite some time. I am now here to pick so that I can go and register.”
To deal with the large number of people turning up for the services, Itur said the centre had acquired a machine that made it possible to process IDs in less than 10 days.
“We have a very fast efficient system called Life Capture System which is very accurate. It saves time. Today we are able to process and issue IDs within a week (less than ten days). Those who applied last Monday their ID cards have already started arriving from NSSF and their IDs are waiting collection here,” he said.
Itur further urged even those who had lost their abstracts to go without them since there were other means of positively identifying them.
Those who picked their IDs and wanted to register in Nairobi as voters were directed to the corner of the hall where the Independent Boundaries and Election Commission (IEBC) had set up a registration centre to be used during the MVR.
At Huduma Centre in Kibera, the story was not different.
People arrived in large numbers to apply for IDs.
Some of those who picked theirs immediately went to the nearby voter registration centres to register as voters.
IEBC on Wednesday expressed concerns that the number of people that had registered in the first two days of the exercise fell below expectation.
For the commission to reach its target of registering six million voters during the last phase of the MVR that will run up to February 14, a minimum of 200,000 voters need to be registered daily henceforth.