By Steve Gatheru
Leaders in Nyeri have pulled all stops to ensure all eligible voters have their names on the roll before the mass voter registration ends in six days’ time.
In Kieni, the MP, Mr Kanini Kega, moved the registration exercise to the Gateri Quarries where more than 500 workers who were finding it difficult to leave their work to go and register had a chance to enroll and to confirm their registration details.
Kega said they will be moving to other quarries and large farms to ensure that the constituency hits the 120,000 registered voter’s target.
“By this morning we had reached 110,000 and expect to reach our target by the end of the exercise. Soon Kieni will be the new Tharaka Nithi”, an optimistic Kega said, referring to the populous county famed for greatly boosting the elections of former President Mwai Kibaki and incumbent Uhuru Kenyatta.
In neighbouring Mathira Constituency local MP, Peter Weru, and businessman, Rigathi Gachagua, held a leaders meeting to strategize on how to mop up remaining unregistered voters but differed on alleged voter importation into the constituency.
The two, who are rivals for the Jubilee Party ticket ahead of the August 8 elections seemed to put aside their differences to ensure Nyeri County, which is lagging behind other counties in the former Central Province, meets its target by next week.
Mr. Weru accused his rival of importing more than 2,000 voters from neighbouring Ndia and Kieni constituencies.
Mr. Gachagua however laughed off the accusations, explaining that the alleged imported voters were actually young brides married by youth in the constituency from Kirinyaga and Embu Counties who were actually being assisted to change their polling stations.
Gachagua said his rival had panicked as a result of his waning popularity.
He also blamed elected leaders from the county for being complacent and doing little to mobilize voters, saying they should be pooling their efforts to ensure no one is left unregistered.
There have been reports that the MPs had complained that money raised by the welfare Mt Kenya Foundation had been channeled through their rivals.
Kega also appealed to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission to make a provision for the registration of citizens whose fingerprints cannot be read by the Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) kits so that they were not disenfranchised.
“Some of these people who work in the quarries use heavy tools doing rough work that wears out their hands. Such a person can only get his fingerprints legible again after washing hands and leaving his skin to grow for a few days. The problem is that they cannot afford to miss work even for a day”, Kega said, adding that IEBC should find a way of registering such people without the need for fingerprints.