17 December 2012

Kenya: 12.7 Million Voters Listed As Deadline Dawns

Nairobi — The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has announced it registered 12.7 million voters by Sunday.

The IEBC statement issued ahead of Tuesday's deadline shows constituencies in Nairobi were leading in the voter listing exercise which kicked off in November 19.

Starehe Constituency has so far recorded an impressive 150 percent turnout, followed by Lamu East and Westlands with a 132 percent turnout, according to the statistics released late on Monday.

Makadara constituency has a 126 percent turnout, Embakasi East 121 percent while Thika town has 117 percent.

Other constituencies in the top 10 list include Dagoretti North, Juja, Embakasi Central and Nakuru.

Constituencies in North Eastern Province recorded the lowest voter turnout, with Dadaab and Lagdera reporting a 25 percent turnout.

Most voters in Loima, Turkana North, Wajir North, Turkana East, Mandera West and Lafey have also shown little interest in the exercise, just as is the case in Banissa and Mandera South Constituencies.

IEBC chairman Isaack Hassan has insisted the commission will not extend the deadline for listing voters, although it remains clear the 18 million voter mark will not be achieved.

"We are urging voters to utilise the remaining period to be registered as voters because the exercise will not be extended," he said.

Kenya is gearing up for one of the most competitive elections due on March 4 next year when incumbent President Mwai Kibaki retires.

Leading contenders in the poll have formed shaky alliances which are yet to nominate presidential flag bearers to face off at the ballot.

Key alliances include those of Prime Minister Raila Odinga and Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka under the Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD); Deputy Prime Ministers Uhuru Kenyatta and Musalia Mudavadi who came together under the Jubilee Alliance which also has Eldoret North MP William Ruto.

Diplomats from the United States and Britain have said they will not interfere in the elections as Kenyans elect their leaders, and will not stop Kenyatta and Ruto who are facing crimes against humanity charges at The Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC) should any of them end up on the ballot.

American ambassador Robert Godec and British High Commissioner Christian Turner said at the weekend their governments are only interested in a free, fair and transparent poll.

"I fully support the Kenyan government's ongoing support of the ICC and the commitment of the indicted themselves to continue that co-operation with the ICC process," Turner said.

He however added that his government wants to see an end to impunity and justice for Post-Election Violence (PEV) victims.

"We support the international rule of law... we support an end to impunity and we support justice for the victims of post-election violence."

Godec was emphatic that the Obama administration is not backing any candidate and is only eager to see that the elections are carried out in a democratic manner.

"The United States is not and will not interfere in this election. This election is only for the Kenyan people to decide and only the Kenyan people."

The United States has contributed up to $34 million to the IEBC and other Kenyan organisations that are concerned with the elections.

In spite of this, Godec assured there were no strings attached to the funds.

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