HomeBusinessIEBC may miss voter registration target by 4.8 million

IEBC may miss voter registration target by 4.8 million

The IEBC projects to miss its target in the mass voter registration drive by 4.8 million as the exercise ends on Tuesday.

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission acting CEO Marjan Hussein said the commission projects to list about 1.2 million by the end of the drive.

This is against a total target of about six million new voters.

“We are likely to close with a figure of slightly above 1.2 new voters,” Hussein said. Politicians were banking on the numbers for their ambitions.

Hussein disclosed to the Star that the commission has not witnessed a surge in the numbers even in the final days of the four-week mass voter registration drive that ends on Tuesday.

It was widely expected that Kenyans, in their usual way, would turn up in large numbers in the last days of the registration. But this has not been the case.

Apathy and lack of IDs have been cited as the possible causes of the low turnout.

By the close of business on Sunday, the commission had netted 1.14 million new voters out of a total target of about six million.

“Today (Sunday), cumulative results shows a figure of 1,144,994 registered voters while transfers cumulative figure is 255,296,” IEBC acting CEO Marjan Hussein said.

“Incrementally, there has been insignificant increase in number of new registered voters averaging 35,000 for the last three days.”

He urged the eligible voters to take advantage of the remaining time to list as voters, saying the commission would not extend the period because of the budgetary constraints.

“The message of the commission to eligible citizens, especially the youth, is that they should not let this chance go to waste as meaningful change in this country can only happen if they register as voters…,” he said.

A section of politicians has been calling on the commission to extend the period to ensure as many Kenyans as possible are listed to participate on the 2022 general elections.

“The IEBC is complaining that it doesn’t have enough money to register voters and the month is ending,” ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi said on Sunday.

“I want to appear to the National Assembly to set aside more money so that the IEBC can get enough to register Kenyans.” 

Political bigwigs eyeing to succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta have been traversing the country, urging Kenyans who are yet to be listed as voters to take advantage of the window.

They were banking on first-time voters as their launching pad for the country’s top seat as others say they would use the enhanced numbers for political negotiations.

“I appeal to Western Kenya to register as voters. If those who qualify register and support my candidature, don’t you think I will be the next president?” Mudavadi said early last month.

On October 8, Raila had to retreat to his Nyanza backyard to encourage residents to register in large numbers to propel his chances of ascending to the country’s top seat.

He decried the low numbers, signifying the importance of the registration to his ambition.

“I had promised to declare my candidature by the end of this month. However, this will be determined by the way you register as voters,” he said in Kisumu.

Meanwhile, the High Court in Eldoret has issued orders prohibiting the Independent Electoral Boundaries Commission from ending the enhanced voter registration exercise.

However, the Commission does not have budget for the same.

Patrick Cherono, a voter, filed an application at the High Court, arguing that the IEBC had not met it’s target of registering 4.5 million new voters.

The voter sued the poll agency and the National Assembly. The latter is supposed to allocate funding to the IEBC.

Justice Eric Ogolla said the orders will remain in place until November 9th when the case will be heard. 

Cherono went to court through Lawyer Kairia Nabasenge.

“[P]ending the hearing and determination of the application… a prohibitory order be and is hereby issued prohibiting the IEBC or its agents from closing national voter registration slated to close on November 2nd,” the court order said.

He directed that the petition be served on all parties as per the law.

In court papers, Cherono said that the Covid-19 situation had affected many people who were in the process of recovering and need time to go and register as voters.

“I am happy that the court has heard our prayer and this will give many Kenyans, especially the youth time to go and register,” Cherono said.

The lawyer said IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati was to be served, but he had been made aware of the court orders and should not stop registration as ordered.

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