Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Central, Nyanza lead the pack as vote listing ends

Last minute nation:Kenyans throng voter registration centres
By NATION TEAM newsdesk@ke.nationmedia.com

Counties perceived to be strongholds of Prime Minister Raila Odinga and his deputy Uhuru Kenyatta have recorded the highest number of registered voters, according to latest figures by the national elections agency.

Nearly all potential voters targeted for the registration that ended yesterday had been enlisted by the weekend in central Kenya, seen as a key voting bloc of Mr Kenyatta who is seeking a presidential nomination through the Jubilee Coalition.

A total of 1.97 million eligible voters had registered by Sunday, according to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission’s records.

The figure, representing 97 per cent of all targeted 2 million voters, could rise following the additional registration figures over the last two days.

Central is running close to cosmopolitan Nairobi County which is leading in registration, with the number of those enlisted surpassing the 100 per cent mark.

Nairobi has registered 1.5 million people.

The registration figures in Central are 27 percentage points higher than the second best region, Nyanza where 1.77 million people had been registered by the weekend.

In the ODM stronghold, the estimated voting population is 2.5 million.

In Nyanza, Kisumu County had by Sunday recorded the highest number of registered voters at 79 per cent followed by Siaya (74), Homa Bay (69) and Migori (62).

In Central, Kiambu recorded a 102 per cent vote listing rate followed by Nyeri (99 per cent), while Murang’a and Kirinyaga have 95 per cent each.

From the latest data, there is an indication that the registration data could fall nearly at the same level as the 2007 roll that stood at 14.3 million.

According to the Independent Commission of Inquiry into the last General Election, the number of registered voters in 2007 represented 71 per cent of the 19.8 million people aged over 18.

Of that, the commission pointed out that the voter register had a low and biased coverage.

“Women are significantly under-registered,” said the report after it was established females represented only 47.1 per cent of the voter register.

Also under-registered were the young people aged between 18 and 30 years whose proportion of the registered voters was 32.1 per cent.

The commission also noted that the figures of the 2007 roll included some of 1.2 million people who had died.

On Tuesday, thousands of Kenyans flocked centres across the country in a last-minute rush to register.

Heavy rains that pounded Nairobi and parts of the Mt Kenya region all day did not deter the voters.

Kenyans living in neighboring Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi also continued registering.

Registration in the EAC countries, which started on Friday, ends on Christmas day.

In Tanzania, registration is taking place in Dar es Salaam and Arusha while in Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi, booths have been stationed at missions in Kampala, Kigali and Bujumbura respectively.

At the Coast province, IEBC chairman Isaack Hassan made impromptu visits to areas with high voter apathy and those regarded as Mombasa Republican Council bases in Kwale and Mombasa counties to urge residents to register.

Mr Hassan, accompanied by South Coast IEBC regional coordinator Amina Soud visited centres in Msambweni, Matuga and Likoni constituencies.

In Nakuru town, some bar owners demanded that patrons produce their voters cards before being served.

In Meru town, a heavy downpour interrupted registration for more than four hours but it did not dampen the spirits of thousands of residents who had turned up to beat the deadline.

In Nyeri county, more than 300 Internally Displaced Persons who had vowed not to register did so after the government promised to meet their demands.

The Ministry of Special Programmes promised to resettle them once they agree to collect their Identity Cards which they had surrendered to the government two weeks ago.

A huge turnout was also witnessed in Uasin Gishu county.

Central primary school and the M.V Patel Memorial Hall in Eldoret town witnessed long queues as residents rushed to beat the deadline.

IEBC North Rift regional coordinator Solomon Mudanya said that the turnout was “promising but not good enough.”

“A few days ago the voter registration was at 49 percent but by yesterday we were at 58 per cent,” said Mr Mudanya.

Huge turnout was also witnessed in Baringo county.

In Kisumu, an IEBC clerk at the Jomo Kenyatta Sports Ground, Ms Becky Mwalo, said there had been a sudden rise in the number of people registering since Monday.

Huge turnouts were also witnessed in Busia and Nyamira counties.

Meanwhile, High Court judge Isaac Lenaola threw out a case that had sought to compel IEBC to extend the registration period to enable prisoners to take part.

Justice Lenaola declined to grant the prayers sought by Kituo Cha Sheria saying that the court must first hear IEBC before making a decision.

Reports by Samuel Siringi, Moses Odhimbo, Linet Wafula, Aggrey Mutambo, Henry Nyarora, Kennedy Kimanthi, Ouma Wanzala, Wycliffe Kipsang, Daniel Nyassy, Amina Kibirige and James Ngunjiri

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