Nairobi — Prime Minister Raila Odinga has made a special appeal to eligible voters who are yet to register to turn out and be listed with barely a week left to the deadline.
Odinga said it was disappointing for low numbers to continue being recorded close to the deadline of registration that expires on December 18.
"Kenyans are only trickling to the registration stations but I want to remind those who have not registered that they are failing in a noble civic duty, they are letting our country down!" said the PM insisting that failing and failed nations arise because citizens refuse to engage in the choice of leadership.
On Monday, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) announced that it has only managed to register 8.6 million people out of a possible 18 million eligible Kenyans.
The PM has ruled out a declaration of a national holiday by the government to enable people to go register, saying those wishing to travel long distances to register in their rural areas should make arrangements especially during the weekend.
"I do not know why people would want to travel long distances to go and register. Kenyans should register where they live and work because there are enough voters in the rural areas. It will not be right that we have a holiday so that people registered," he asserted.
Odinga at the same time urged fellow presidential candidates to rally their supporters to register saying every Kenyan had the right take part in the historic polls.
"Whether you are in ODM, TNA, URP, Narc Kenya, Wiper or whichever party, whether you will vote for or against Raila Odinga, I appeal to you to go and register in readiness to shape the destiny of the country," he said adding that the voter registration exercise was not a party affair.
The premier was addressing journalists in his office accompanied by Labour Minister John Munyes, Assistant Minister Hassan Joho and MP Chachu Ganya, all of whom made similar appeals.
Munyes appealed to local leaders in his Turkana North constituency to mobilise the pastoralist community that is migrating to neighbouring Uganda and Ethiopia to return and register.
"I do not know why people would want to travel long distances to go and register. Kenyans should register where they live and work because there are enough voters in the rural areas. It will not be right that we have a holiday so that people registered"
"I know many of them are in the borders of Uganda, Sudan and Ethiopia and I want to appeal to the chiefs, elders and councillors to ensure that these pastoralists are returned to their voting areas," said the minister.
The lowest voter registration was recorded in Mandera, Turkana, Wajir, West Pokot, Garissa and Trans Nzoia counties
He challenged the IEBC to sort out the logistical nightmares it was facing in the region including the breakdown of machines and vehicles, which he said were disenfranchising eligible voters.
Ganya who represents the vast North Horr constituency also challenged the IEBC to engage elders from the local community to sensitise constituents he said were ignorant of the need to register afresh.
He said people were walking long distances to reach the registration centres and called on the IEBC to take the kits closer to the people.
In the latest statistics, Lamu County has the highest voter registration at 72 percent followed by Kiambu which has 68 percent of the total eligible voters registered.
Nairobi has registered 990,127 individuals out of 1,463,105 eligible voters.
Other counties with registration of about 60 percent included Muranga, Nyeri, Kisumu, Kirinyaga, Kajiado, Nyandarua and Siaya.
The lowest voter registration was recorded in Mandera, Turkana, Wajir, West Pokot, Garissa and Trans Nzoia counties.