NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 31 – The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has again released a less than expected turnout of registered voters with a shortfall of over 1 million people.
Whereas the commission expected to list 2,854,731 voters after the second week of the exercise, only 1,539, 879 voters were listed across the 47 counties, leaving it a shortfall of 1,314, 852 voters.
“After 14 days of registering voters, preliminary data shows that a total of 1,539,879 Kenyans representing 53.94 percent of the week 2 cumulative target have applied to be registered as voters,” IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati explained Tuesday.
However, some counties stood out with Kajiado, Mandera and Kirinyaga counties recording the highest voter registration turnout.
Kajiado recorded a 92 percent turnout after 30,766 voters listed against a target of 33,282 voters.
Mandera listed 16,115 voters against the 37,440 target while Kirinyaga registered 28,306 against the target of 65,772 with both counties meeting 43 percent of their targeted voter listings.
Kiambu County came in fourth after it listed 106,223 voters against the targeted 250,493 voters.
Murang’a had a voter listing of 47,497 against the target of 118,330 followed by Narok which listed 24,445 against 62,632 and Nakuru which saw 77,970 voters registered instead of the 210,002 voter registrations expected in the second week.
Wajir County was the eighth top performing county with 10,898 voters out of the 33,477 targeted, followed by Tana River which listed 8,858 voters against the possible 28,027 and Garissa was the 10th best performing county after listing 12,658 voters against 40,961 voters.
Counties that recorded low voter registration turnout of 20 percent and below included Nyeri (20 percent), Kitui (20 percent) Elgeyo Marakwet (19.5 percent), Siaya (19.7 percent), Bungoma (19 percent), Kakamega (17.9 percent), Taita Taveta (17.8 percent), Kericho (17.4 percent) and Baringo (17 percent).
Samburu, one of the counties affected by drought realised a 15.5 percent turnout while Vihiga had only 14.2 percent of expected voters turning up for registration.
Kisii registered only 31 965 voters against the 95,248 targeted giving it a 15.7 percent registration turnout while Nyamira had a mere 16.8 percent of voter registration turnout.
According to Chebukati, the 1,539, 879 voters listed in the first 14 days of the exercise represented; “25 percent of the upper target of 6 million voters and 38.50 percent of the lower limit target of 4 million voters raising concerns over the low voter registration turnout.
“This means that much work still needs to be done,” he stated as he appealed to other stakeholders driving the call for voter registration to work harder to reach more of the targeted eligible voters not listed.
The ongoing drought that has ravaged several parts of the country, Chebukati explained had affected registration among the pastoral communities but said that the commission had taken measures to accept transfers and also move within confinements of electoral areas to reach out to the populations settling in new areas.
While announcing that investigations were on course to expose those behind forced transfers, Chebukati warned Kenyans against being caught up in such electoral malpractices.
In efforts to reach out to more unregistered voters, Chebukati also announced that the Regional Election Coordinators had been directed to rollout outreach programmes in universities and colleges from February 8 to February 14.
Other efforts employed by the commission to give deserving Kenyans a chance to register included the Diaspora population that will have their voice heard when the working group on the Diaspora Participation in Elections will meet on Wednesday to discuss the matter.
The commission further announced that registration of voters in prisons was scheduled to kick off from February 20 to 27.
As the voter registration exercise continued across the country, the commission on the other hand said it was working on concerns raised, particularly on the issue of shared identification documents which last week showed that 128,926 voters were affected.
“We wish to state that 50,174 records of voters have been confirmed to be legitimate. The cleaning up of the register of voters is a continuous process,” he said.
In efforts to clean up the final Biometric Voters’ Register (BVR), the commission said it had adopted an elaborate verification process that will give every registered voter a chance to rectify their details in subsequent published notifications to deal with challenges of shared registration documents and double registrations.
“The Commission has commenced the configuration of the BVR system to ensure that just like the fingerprints, the ID numbers forms part of the unique identifiers of the voters. This means that at the time of preparing the final register of voters, the BVR system shall automatically identify duplicate IDs and separate them from the rest of the records.”
The verification process, Chebukati elucidated also required the commission to work with the Registrar of Births and Deaths to ensure dead voters were continuously eliminated from the voters’ register.
The commission in the first week of the MVR listed 825,145 voters against a weekly target of 1.4 million voters.