NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 7 – The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission has registered 2.1 million voters within three weeks in the ongoing month-long Mass Voter Registration (MVR) exercise.
IEBC Chairperson Wafula Chebukati expressed concern over the low turnout, with only a week left in the campaign.
“The Commission recorded 2,164,185 applicants for registration as voters in the third week of the month long campaign. This is only half the weekly target (50.54pc),” he stated.
The IEBC had hoped to register between four to six million new voters.
During the first week of MVR 825,145 voters were listed while in the second week 1,539,879 voters were registered halfway to the end of the exercise on February 14.
In the third week, 624,306 voters were registered.
If Kenya’s habit of last minute rush is anything to go by, the Commission hopes that the trend in the registration of voters will improve in the last week.
While making use of the opportunity to emphasis the importance of Kenyans exercising their right to vote also as a civic duty, Chebukati urged them to focus on registering as voters in the remaining week.
Whereas Kenyans living abroad were keen to take part in the August election, IEBC settled on registering Diaspora voters living in Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda and South Africa due to logistical constraints.
According to Roselyne Kwamboka, registration of Diaspora voters was a complex process that would require the Commission to prepare in advance both technically and financially.
From Wednesday (February 8 to 14) the commission will make it possible for university and college students to register within designated registration centres at several institutions.
“The target institutions are those with students from various parts of the country. The Commission relies on the support of the administration of these institutions and the respective student leadership. The students will be allowed to register for any registration centre of their choice countrywide. The list of institutions and the BVR kits allocated have been published at the Commission’s website,” Chebukati explained.
Inmates in the 118 prisons across the country will also be allowed to register as voters but during election they will only vote for the presidential seat.
The exercise of registration for prisoners will commence on February 20 and close on February 27.
In Maji Mazuri/Mumberes (Eldama Ravine, Baringo), voter registration will begin after the by-election on March 22 while in Kanyamkago Central (Uriri, Migori) IEBC will declare Jaoko Alex of ODM the winner since he is the only candidate to pave way for immediate commencement of voter registration.