The Star (Nairobi)

Kenya: Former UN Head Urges Kenyans to Register

The committee of experts that brokered a power sharing deal between PNU and ODM during the 2007 general election have expressed optimism over the ongoing voter registration exercise.

The committee's chairman, former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said that registration will give Kenyans the opportunity to vote in the government they want.

"This [registration] is a unique opportunity for Kenyans to help build a wonderful government," Annan said. He further congratulated the IEBC chairman Ahmed Isaack Hassan for the great work the commission is doing and urged Kenyans to come out and and support the exercise by registering. "I want to congratulate the chairman and his team for the work they're doing here and around the country, but they can't do it alone. They need every Kenyan," he said.

Former Tanzanian president Benjamin Mkapa also encouraged Kenyans to register. "The registration process is going on well, but it could be better. We urge Kenyans to go and register in order to choose the kind of government they want," he said.

The process that started on November 18 has 15 days left and has registered mixed results with some areas having high voter turnout, while others have low numbers.

IEBC chairman Hassan urged people to come out and register because the process will not be extended. "We don't have the luxury of time. I urge people to come out and register in large numbers because there is no extension to this process," Hassan said.

On the issue of voter registration in the diaspora, Hassan said that the commission has decided to start with Kenyans in the East African region.

Hassan said, "The commission has decided to register Kenyan diaspora in the East African regions to start with. This is because the process has faced logistical and technical issues. It will not be a popular decision, but will be amended with time."

A group calling itself New Vision Kenya had moved to court seeking orders to compel the IEBC to set up more polling stations in the Diaspora and ensure they vote in the polls.

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