Kenya: Only Half of 18 Million Voters Listed As Deadline Nears

Only about half of Kenya’s eligible voters have registered to take part in next year’s watershed elections, with just eight days left for the electorate to enlist themselves.

Figures released by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission on Monday show that 8,648,926 individuals had registered by Saturday, which is roughly half of the targeted 18 million eligible voters.

Voter registration is due to end on December 18.

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 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.

Others that had low registration are Kwale, Marsabit, Isiolo and Uasin Gishu counties.

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.

The IEBC has declared it will not extend the December 18 deadline to ensure that the country meets a strict electoral calendar as provided in the Constitution.

At the weekend, the commission expressed scepticism it would meet the targeted number and revised it downwards to 12 million voters to be registered.

Some of the challenges linked to the low turnout include voter apathy, ignorance and challenges associated to the outcome of the 2007 General Election.

However, Kenyans have been urged not to use the 2007 election as an excuse for not taking part in the democratic process of the country.