Economy

IEBC falls short of target as Kenyans shun voter registration

Wafula Chebukati

IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati. FILE PHOTO | NMG

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Summary

  • Chairman Wafula Chebukati said Monday only 760,000 Kenyans have registered in the ongoing mass voter registration exercise against a target of 4.5 million new voters by this week.
  • The commission aims to register 25 million voters ahead of the next polls, up from 19.6 million.
  • The polls agency launched the exercise on October 4 and seeks to register at least six million new voters by the close of the exercise on November 2.

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has only registered 17 percent of its targeted fresh voters barely a week to the close of the mass listing exercise.

Chairman Wafula Chebukati said Monday only 760,000 Kenyans have registered in the ongoing mass voter registration exercise against a target of 4.5 million new voters by this week.

The commission aims to register 25 million voters ahead of the next polls, up from 19.6 million.

The polls agency launched the exercise on October 4 and seeks to register at least six million new voters by the close of the exercise on November 2.

The exercise is part of IEBC’s Enhanced Continuous Voter Registration exercise.

“We have only done 760,000 out of the expected target of 4.5 million voters. It’s a very low turnout,” said Mr Chebukati yesterday.

The polls agency said it had intensified its campaigns by rolling out mobile facilities in a bid to encourage new voters to register.

The commission will also conduct mass voter registration for the diaspora in December.

The IEBC will include six more countries in its diaspora list namely South Africa, the US, the UK, Canada, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.

Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, and South Africa participated in the 2017 General Election.

Meanwhile, 224 polling centres do not have network coverage, which may affect the timely transmission of results, the Communications Authority of Kenya has told a Senate committee.

Director-general Ezra Chiloba Monday told the senate ICT Committee that if nothing is done between now and next August, the IEBC would be forced to use satellite mobile phones to transmit poll results from those centres.

Mr Chiloba said they are racing against time to ensure that most polling stations and centres are covered with either 3G or 4G network.

“The 224 polling centres may be served using alternative connectivity technology such as satellite phones. We are informed that IEBC has about 1,500 satellite phones that can be used to address this final gap,” he said.