MASS LISTING DRIVE

Raila decries low voter registration turnout

'You must register in large numbers if you want me to run'

In Summary

• Mass voter registration exercise began on October 4.

• The commission targets six million new voters ahead of the 2022 General Election.

ODM leader Raila Odinga laying the foundation stone at the site of the proposed Raila Odinga Secondary School in Nyando on Friday.
ODM leader Raila Odinga laying the foundation stone at the site of the proposed Raila Odinga Secondary School in Nyando on Friday.
Image: DICKENS WASONGA

ODM leader Raila Odinga on Friday decried the low number of Nyanza residents turning up to register as voters.

Speaking in Nyando, Raila said he was not impressed by the behaviour of his supporters who appear to be dragging their feet during the mass voter listing.

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission launched the mass voter registration exercise on Monday. It targets six million new voters ahead of the 2022 General Election.

Most centres in the region have registered low numbers, with the IEBC clerks remaining idle for the better part of the day.

Raila asked elected leaders and party officials to go back to their electoral areas and mobilise people to register.

He termed it disappointing that while supporters of his opponents have aggressively taken advantage of the exercise to grow their numbers, his own supporters were reluctant.

“I want all young people from this region, who have attained the age of 18 years to register as voters,” he said.

He said he was going for a political contest and the only arsenal he needs to beat his opponents is the voter’s card.

“I had promised to declare my candidature by the end of this month. However, this will be determined by the way you register as voters. If the listing is good in my backyard, then I will be motivated to enter the race," he said.

He said he has deliberately planned to have the announcement coincide with the close of mass voter listing.

“My condition to you is that you must register in large numbers if you want me to run. You must convince me that you are ready as we go to war as my soldiers,” Raila said.

Raila made the remarks during a groundbreaking ceremony for the proposed Raila Odinga Secondary School in Nyando. The project will be funded by the China Construction Third Engineering Bureau Company Limited as part of its corporate social responsibility.

The company is building three other primary schools in the constituency.

Raila was accompanied by Education CS George Magoha, Nyanza regional coordinator Magu Mutindika, county commissioner Josephine Ouko, area MP Jared Okelo, his Muhoroni counterpart Onyango Koyoo, Kisumu Deputy Governor Mathews Owili and ODM secretary general Edwin Sifuna, among other leaders.

The former PM thanked the company for supporting education in the area. He said education is key to the development of any child regardless of their background.

“Education is very primary to the development of every child, whether their parents have money or not. It is a fundamental right for everyone. It determines whether a country develops or not.”

Raila also called for youth empowerment.

“Our youth are the future of our country. We must, therefore, empower them with education and provide them with requisite skills to be able to create wealth.”

He said the ongoing discussions on CBC are healthy and appealed to the Education CS to be patient with those raising concerns.

“Anything new always elicits suspicion, but we know countries such as Rwanda, South Africa and Tanzania have already adopted CBC,” Raila said.

He said he was optimistic an amicable solution will be arrived at on the matter.