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University students urged to register as voters

Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Kericho Branch has resorted to pitching a tent at institutions of higher learning within the County to target the youth who have recently acquired Identity Cards, to be registered as voters.

As the Commission continues to decry low voter registration turnout within Kericho County as the deadline, November 2nd, 2021 getting closer, IEBC insist that there will be no extension of the mass voter registration.

Speaking to KNA at the County Head Office, the IEBC Kericho County Elections Manager, Mr. Joseph Ayatta, said the decision to have the registration exercise at universities and colleges is because most young people who recently acquired their ID cards are students in institutions of higher learning.

Ayatta also said the IEBC has been trying its level best to conduct civic education to the young people on the need to get registered as voters in order to get a chance to exercise their democratic rights come 2022 General Elections.

“We now have our registration officers at Kabianga University and we are really trying to persuade the young people to get registered and we are still hopeful that before the deadline, we will have captured quite a number, even though we will not have attained our target.

The County Elections Manager expressed his concern that majority of the youth in Kericho are disinterested in participating in electoral processes for lack of civic education on their democratic rights, saying that is the reason behind the current voter registration apathy.

“I urge parents, guardians and those who our young people consider as role models like celebrities to talk to the youth and enlighten them on the need to participate in the electoral process as their right and the importance of voting as well.

According to the IEBC Manager, Kericho County had 377,211 registered voters and targetted to register another 86,532 new voters, projecting a total of 516,780 as of the total number of registered voters at the end of the 30-day exercise.

He, however, revealed that the IEBC has only managed to register 20 per cent of that targeted number. This is despite the ongoing Rapid Results Initiative (RRI), for issuance of Identity Cards (ID) to new applicants who receive their IDs faster than usual which was aimed at getting hold of many young people registered as voters.

The Constitution qualifies a person for registration as a voter at elections if the person is an adult citizen, is not declared to be of unsound mind and has not been convicted of an election offense during the preceding five years.

By Kibe Mburu and Mercyline Chepkemoi

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