The Star (Nairobi)

1 December 2012

Kenyans Still Wait for Last Minute to Act

editorial

The voter registration exercise is in its second week. There has, however, been lamentations from leaders that the response of many Kenyans to the call to register as voters is wanting.

The numbers are still far below the Independent Electoral Boundaries Commission's target of registering 18 million voters.

That registering as a voter and taking part in elections is extremely critical is not in dispute. As a matter of fact, Article 38 of the Constitution unequivocally vests all qualified citizens with political rights.

Key among these rights is the right to free, fair and regular elections based on universal suffrage and the free expression of the will of the electors.

The reluctance to register as voters is not an entirely new phenomenon among Kenyans. We have this strange reputation of being last minute people.

Not long long the government called on Kenyans to register their SIM cards. This was aimed at cutting down on crime. Rather than hid the government's appeal right away, Many Kenyans dragged their feet.

They waited for the last minute and then rushed to register their cards. But what we are looking on now is a vitally important public exercise with far reaching social, political and economic ramifications.

With a new constitution that eloquently roots for sound governance, we cannot afford to take chances. Time is running out and the sooner we register as voters the better.

Kenyans should be encouraged to discard their knack for doing things at the last minute and to actively participate in the electoral process.

The March 4 general election presents us with an opportunity to do away with people who have messed up our country.

Shying away from registering as voters and voting will only sink our country deeper into the leadership problems we are presently contending with.

The IEBC must, however, come out strongly and assure Kenyans that it will not take sides. This assurance could see many Kenyans troop to registration centres to register.

Quote of the day: "To be nobody but yourself in a world that's doing its best to make you somebody else, is to fight the hardest battle you are ever going to fight. Never stop fighting." E. E. Cummings was an American poet born on December 1 1894.

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