11 December 2012

Kenya: Poll Chaos Taking Toll On Voters - IEBC

Nairobi — The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) is now blaming the low turnout at voter registration centres to the 2008 post-election violence.

IEBC chairman Issack Hassan said that some Kenyans were opting not to register for fear of possible repercussions for participating in next year's General Election, as was the case in 2007.

"In some parts of the country there are people who are working in farms but they don't come from that community and don't want to register in that particular area. This is a lesson that we have not recovered completely from post election violence; it still shows in the way we are very scared to register as voters," Hassan said.

Latest statistics released by the commission on Monday showed that only 8,648,926 individuals had registered by Saturday, which is slightly below half of the targeted 18 million eligible voters.

Speaking during the launch of a book on independent candidates, Hassan however said despite the low turnout the commission expected an upsurge in registration next week.

"We have to get more than 12 million voters. Our kits are idle in many parts of the country. Kenyans like to wait for the last day but they should know we don't have the luxury of time. It will not be extended," the IEBC chairman stated.

Voter registration is due to end on December 18. Since the voter registration began on November 19, the IEBC has embarked on a series of vigorous campaigns urging eligible voters to present their national identity cards or passports at the 25,000 registration centres that are spread across the country.

Politicians, members of the diplomatic corps, the media and even religious leaders have not been left out in making calls to Kenyans to register as voters in order to express their democratic right of electing leaders in the March 4, 2013 elections.

Prime Minister Raila Odinga hosted a media briefing on Tuesday morning during which he rallied Kenyans to turn up in large numbers and register as voters.

Odinga stressed the importance of every eligible Kenyan to participate in the democratic governance of the country.

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