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Concerns raised over low voter turn out

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has raised concern over the alarmingly low rate of voter registration.

IEBC Commissioner Irene Masit, lamented that despite Kilifi County having the highest population in the Coast region, the number of potential voters turning out to register was very disappointing.

Commissioner Masit, who was addressing journalists in Malindi town, noted that the commission had managed to register a paltry 17,000 new voters out of the targeted 166,000 potential voters in the county since the mass voter registration exercise began.

She added that one of the challenges the commission was facing was the fact that the majority of people had not collected their National Identity Card at the offices of the National Registration Bureau.

“Our main target for registration is the youths of this country but it has turned out that they are the very people who are not turning out to register,” said Ms Masit.

Her sentiments were echoed by the Kilifi County Election Manager, Mr Abdul Wahid Hussein, who said that more than 137,000 youths had received National Identity Cards in the county since 2017 and were eligible to register as voters.

He however lamented that voter registration clerks in all the 35 wards had remained idle as the youths gave the registration centers a wide berth.

“Kilifi County has the highest number of wards in the region and the commission has allocated three biometric voter registration kits per ward, and we were expecting to register many of the young potential voters, but to our dismay the opposite is the case, “said Abdul Wahid Hussein.

Meanwhile, in Busia County, the former Teso South Constituency Member of Parliament, Mary Emase, has called upon leaders in Busia County to preach gospel of voter registration in the county instead of divisive politics aligning residents in tribal segments.

Speaking at Aterait sub location in Teso South Constituency, Emase said that IEBC did not conduct enough civic education to sensitize residents about this exercise, which is going on in the country, hence the need for the public to be informed.

“I believe that the Sh4 billion allocated for voter registration exercise included the funds for civic education but as it is, it seems sensitization was not properly done,” Emase said.

She also urged the IEBC officials in the county to ensure that even those remote areas are aware of the exercise to enable them to register.

“According to how I have observed some of the registration centres, many of our people are not even aware that the exercise is going on,” she added.

By KNA Team 

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