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Monday, July 24, 2017

Extend mass registration, ensure no voter left behind

An IEBC official takes a voter's finger print details during a voter registration exercise at Pumwani social hall as mass voter registration kicked off countrywide./ FILE
An IEBC official takes a voter's finger print details during a voter registration exercise at Pumwani social hall as mass voter registration kicked off countrywide./ FILE

The calls by various political leaders for an extension of the final mass voter registration drive beyond tomorrow’s deadline are a sensible idea.

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission should heed such eminently commonsensical calls, considering the very large numbers of youths nationwide who have recently applied for national ID cards but stand to be disenfranchised by the deadline.

The commissioners of the IEBC should extend the mass registration by at most a fortnight, to the end of February.

Millions of young Kenyans are keen to vote for the first time in the hope of making a difference. At the moment they hold only waiting papers that will progressively give them ID cards.

The IEBC’s present position that there will be no extension is too inflexible. It’s six months to Election Day August 8 and a lot can be done long before then. How long will it take to cleanup the voter’s register, a largely automated and computerised task?


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