By Victor Muyakane
Politicians from Jubilee and opposition parties today went all out to encourage Kenyans to register as voters as the month-long exercise kicked off on Monday. The exhortations coming at a time when the voters’ turnout was noticeably low in many parts of the country.
Nairobi, Mt Kenya, Rift Valley, Western, Nyanza, Northern Kenya and some parts of the Coast were the most affected by the low turnout. for instance, a constituency in Kitui County only registered 25 persons, with the dismal turnout evidenced across the country.
Speaking at a rally in Kibra, CORD leader Raila Odinga urged his supporters to register as voters and ‘leave the rest to him’.
According to Narok West Mp Patrick ole Ntutu, Narok county has 1.2 million residents with IDs out of which 800,000 have registered as voters. Ole Ntutu called on the remaining 400,000 residents to come out and register so that they can exercise their democratic right on 8th of August. woman rep. aspirant Rebecca Tonkei suggested that local women should pursue their husbands on the need to register noting that this is the only way that will ensure the area gets better leadership.
MPs Maina Kamanda (Starehe), Dennis Waweru (Dagoretti South), Rachel Shebesh (Woman Rep) and former Gatanga MP Peter Kenneth went around the greater Nairobi area to rally voters to register in good numbers. Civil servants were not left behind, as Lands Cabinet Secretary Jacob Kaimenyi and PSs Karanja Kibicho and Micheni Ntiba drummed up support in Meru and Kirinyaga counties.
IEBC officials report turning away people who came to register without identity cards. Break down of the BVR equipment was also blamed for the low numbers in registration. Some quarters complained of poor distribution of the BVR kits, to which the IEBC coordinator Ruth Kulundu said the agency settled on geographical size of wards as opposed to population size, to determine the number of Biometric Voter Registration kits to be deployed.
As various players employed extra-ordinary means to influence members of the public to register, Matatu operators plying Namanga route came up with a unique way to enhance voter registration in the ongoing nationwide voter recruitment drive. Matatu conductors insisted that commuters must produce a voter’s card before boarding their matatus. A section of Kenyans are now questioning the legality of the means being used to register voters.