OFF TARGET

Dismal voter turnout in Kisumu alarms IEBC

Commission aims to register 124,159 new voters but so far has only signed up 6,963.

In Summary

• County election manager Patrick Odame said they have only registered 6,963 new voters against a target of 124,159 —just 5.6 per cent.

•Odame said they would be happy to get 200,000 new voters but that seems like a pipe dream.

Kisumu Central parliamentary aspirant Joshua Oron during voter registration on Tuesday.
REGISTRATION: Kisumu Central parliamentary aspirant Joshua Oron during voter registration on Tuesday.
Image: MAURICE ALAL

@alalmaurice

Kisumu people aren't turning out to register to vote.

Is it apathy, laziness, waiting until the last minute? Do they think their votes won't matter? 

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission is alarmed.

Month-long registration started on October 4 with a target of 28,971 new voters weekly. So far they only registered 6,963.

The overall target is 124,159 and they have only managed 5.6 per cent.

County election manager Patrick Odame said they would love 200,000 new voters but that seems like a mirage.

He didn't say why turnout was so low.

He said the target is based on the allocation of 4.5 million identification cards between 2017 and 2021.

“Target is usually the minimum, mobilisation of people should be 100 per cent,” Odame said.

Out of the 6,963 registered voters,  Kisumu East has registered 1,189 (27 per cent) out of the 4,386 weekly targets.

Kisumu West and Kisumu Central have registered 902 (23 per cent) out of 3,988 weekly targets and 1,450 (23 per cent) out of 6,428 weekly targets, respectively.

Seme subcounty with a weekly target of 2,883 has registered 608 new voters (21 per cent) while Nyando with 3,853 weekly targets has registered 943 (24 per cent).

Muhoroni has registered 920 (25 per cent) out of the weekly target of 3,727.

Nyakach subcounty with a weekly target of 3,707 and has registered 951 (26 per cent) new voters.

Odame said voter mobilisation is everyone's responsibility and called for enhanced continuous voter listing. He urged political parties, elected leaders and aspirants to urge people to get registered.

“Mass voter registration should not be left to the IEBC. Clergy and political leaders should lead in getting people to register, including young people,” Odame said.

“Youths should register so that their voices can be heard. We are also working with universities on registration.”

Nationally, the IEBC is targeting six million new voters.

In 2017, 539,210 registered voters cast ballots at 1,027 polling stations in seven constituencies.

Odame said people with disabilities will be registered at Tom Mboya Labour College in Kisumu.

“We will take the kits to them and they will be listed,” he said.

Young people have volunteered to mobilise other youths to register.

Odame said they hope the registration will pick up as the listing continues and mobilisers do their work.

Edited by Kiilu Damaris