ONE WEEK LATE

Boda bodas deliver voter registration kits in terror-prone Lamu

They had to use 'panya' routes to avoid possible detection by al shabaab militants in the areas.

In Summary
  • The use of vehicles was ruled out as they ran the risk of running over IEDs planted on roads by the militants.
  • The exercise kicked off on October 4 across Kenya save for Boni areas in Lamu owing to insecurity concerns.
Voter registration kicks off in Boni,Lamu East.
Voter registration kicks off in Boni,Lamu East.
Image: CHETI PRAXIDES

Boni residents in terror-prone areas of Lamu have finally been reached for the ongoing nationwide mass voter registration, one week later.

The exercise kicked off on October 4 across Kenya save for Boni areas in Lamu owing to insecurity concerns.

Speaking on Monday, Lamu county elections manager Mohamed Adan confirmed that arrangements had been made to ferry the registration kits to the Boni areas using boda boda operators.

 He divulged that the operators had to carefully maneuver selected ‘panya routes’ inside the deadly Boni forest before they were finally able to deliver the kits to the people of Boni.

The reason for stealthy delivery was to ensure no detection from al Shabaab militants believed to be operating in the areas.

The use of vehicles was ruled out as they ran the risk of running over IEDs planted on roads by the militants.

Choppers were also out of question due to the cost involved in hiring.

The registration exercise in Boni forest officially kicked off on Thursday last week.

Since the areas are sparsely populated, the IEBC is only targeting to register 150 fresh voters.

“The Boni forest has been our main area of challenge because of insecurity posed by al Shabaab terrorists. It’s the reason we delayed to deliver the voter registration materials. I, however, want to confirm that the exercise is now on and Bonis are registering as voters,”Adan said.

The areas include the entire Basuba ward, which makes up the five villages of Mangai, Mararani, Milimani, Basuba and Kiangwe in Lamu East.

They have all been marked by security agencies as terror-prone owing to the frequency and ease with which al Shabab militants have been entering and conducting attacks in various parts of Lamu.

These areas are also found within the vast Boni forest, which is still believed to harbour terrorists who are said to have established bases deep within.

Adan revealed that these areas have been supplied with three voter kits, which will be rotated in the various villages within the 30-day period until the targeted number of new voters is reached.

The IEBC has assured Boni forest residents that they will all be reached for the exercise before the lapse of the intended period.

The commission is targeting to register at least 15,910 new voters across Lamu county by the end of the 30-day period.

More than 200 new voters have already been registered in Lamu West and 91 in Lamu East in the last week.

Edited by Henry Makori