Capital FM (Nairobi)

Kenya: Only Diaspora Kenyans in EA Will Vote - Hassan

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) says that only Diaspora Kenyans living in the East African region will be registered as voters.

IEBC chairman Issack Hassan stated that the registration of all Kenyan voters in the Diaspora will be done progressively.

"When we started the voter registration exercise, the difficulty we had all over the country was that there were machines breaking down and there was a lot of logistical problems. As a result, I realised that we could not pull it off in the whole world," he said.

"Although we are independent, we require the support of the government especially the Ministry of Foreign Affairs because we are going to use their embassies and so we have decided as a commission that for now the law requires that we do this thing progressively... we will do it in the East African region," he explained.

He asserted that the targeted registration of 18 million voters stands at a 70 percent success rate, but promised to release specific figures later on Monday.

He called on Kenyans to register as voters as soon as possible to avoid any last minute rush.

"Let them not think that there will be more extension of time. I do not want them to wait for the last week and then start jamming the centres. Our officers now are working until 7pm," he stated.

He also urged politicians to sensitise their supporters on the importance of registering as voters.

"It is the parties and the candidates who actually go out and make sure that there are voters. The supporters came out to register and then they vote. You know for example that Obama won because a lot of his campaign team made sure that his supporters registered as voters and that they also come out to vote," he said.

Hassan was speaking during a meeting with Kofi Annan where the former United Nations boss emphasised the need for everyone to exercise their right to vote.

"It is important that every Kenyan takes the opportunity to register and to vote. This is a unique opportunity for Kenyans to help build a wonderful government and a wonderful nation. We expect all of you to exercise your right to register and to vote," he said.

His sentiments were echoed by former Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa.

"After a lot of speculation as to whether the IEBC would be successful, they have proved to us that they will finish the registration exercise on time. There is no doubt in their minds that after this, Kenyans will be able to vote and for this, we praise them."

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