The Star (Nairobi)

12 December 2012

Kenya: Kwale Residents Register After Door-to-Door Voter Education

 The electoral commission has not started registering Kenyans with waiting cards as the president is yet to assent to the bill that authorizes ... ( Resource: Kenyans With Waiting Cards Yet To Be Registered.

IEBC officials say Kwale has registered many voters in the last two weeks despite being hit by many challenges.

Speaking to the Star yesterday, IEBC South West Coast region coordinator Amina Aboud, it has been challenging to get people to come and register due to threats from MRC.

"Kwale had the lowest turnout of people from the beginning compared to other counties. When the exercise begun, we had actually targeted 10,000 registrations per day but only got 25 per cent. However, this is now changing and we are at 49 percent. Yesterday, for example, we for the first time registered 47 people from Ng'ombeni which has been the area where we have met the most reluctance," she said.

She attributed the increase to aggressive voter education and tight security. "We are now conducting door to door voter education during the day and in the evening. Security has also been beefed up since people have been afraid of being attacked by MRC," she said.

She said the highest number of people who have registered are old men. "The elderly are the ones coming to register more than any other age group. The least are youth who stay away because they are members of MRC and women who have to first be given consent," she said.

Aboud said by December 10, South West Coast region had registered 72 per cent of its target. "The region is doing well and we are aiming to get as many voter registered as possible before time elapses. We have a target of 600,000 an have so far registered around 432,000," she said.

Aboud told members of the community to come out in large numbers and register before December 18. She told them to avoid a last minute rush that could end up frustrating their efforts.

"The exercise will give one an opportunity to bring change that they need that cannot be achieved without a vote. I want to tell the community that violence or boycott of elections is not a solution," she said. Kwale is the stronghold of MRC which has been calling for boycott of elections as part of its secession agenda.

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