Make sure you enrol as voters, Kenyans urged

Scores of people in Kibera outside Nairobi are queuing to cast their votes, 04 March 2013. EPA/Felix Dlangamandla

Kenyans have been urged to come out in large numbers and register as voters in readiness for this year’s general election to be held on August 8.

Leaders of the opposition on Wednesday snubbed earlier calls for mass protests and instead directed their aspirants to lead the search for new voters as enlisting kicks off next week.

The ruling Jubilee coalition today joined the calls and asked their supporters to ensure everyone is registered as parties ready themselves for the elections.

Read also: IEBC seeks to register six million new voters

President Uhuru Kenyatta who has been in India for the last two days was expected to jet in and head straight to Kasarani Stadium where he was to launched Jubilee members’ registration drive.

The move is targeting more than five million voters across all the 47 counties.

The opposition had been expected to declare beginning of weekly protests to demonstrate against the amended election laws.

But Cord leader Raila Odinga asked their supporters to instead concentrate on the mass voter registration.

“We will deal with election laws. That we promise you. But you must all go out, in every town, village, home, church, school, bus stop every single day and not rest until everybody you meet is a registered voter.  Mr Odinga told opposition delegates that gathered at the Bomas of Kenya on Wednesday.

The scramble for voters has opened yet a new battlefront for the two coalitions with IEBC reporting that up to nine million potential voters remain unregistered.

Rift Valley region leads in the number of potential voters with ID cards but who are yet to be registered with the IEBC.

The region has some 1,804,376 people with ID cards who are not enrolled as voters. It is followed by Eastern with 1,426,455 and Nairobi in third with some 1,276,912 people with IDs not registered.

Other regions with potential voters are Nyanza, (1,274,894), Western (1,107,524), Coast (1,047,831), Central (1,025,296) and North Eastern with 166,983.

These numbers have created the new battlefront with the opposition keen to ensure maximum registration of voters in their strongholds to counter the tyranny of numbers through which Jubilee rose to power.

“We have not convened to deploy for mass action as Jubilee had hoped. That remains on our radar but not in the next thirty days. The challenge is to bring change through the ballot.
But we can only vote if we register. The last time the IEBC enlisted people before elections in 2013, it went all out to deny our people the chance to register by deploying fewer kits in perceived CORD areas than in Jubilee strongholds. Another final registration before elections begins in five days’ time,” Mr Odinga said.

Some of the counties with the biggest numbers of unregistered voters include Nairobi (1,276,912), Kakamega (417,033), Kiambu (373,870), Mombasa (343,544), Kilifi (342,923), Meru (327,571), Nakuru (313, 435) and Kisii (304,631).

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