Two state agencies have differed over the reasons behind the low voter turnout in the just concluded exercise in Laikipia County.
The Independent and Electoral Boundaries Commission and the Registrar of Persons on Thursday blamed each other for the low number of new voters registered during the month-long exercise that ended on Tuesday.
By the close of the mass registration on Tuesday, the electoral commission had registered 17,000 new voters against a county target of 50,000, with Laikipia East Constituency recording 6,500 new voters against a target of 18,000.
“In Laikipia we did not do well due to lack of identity cards. The Registrar of Persons should wake up and do his part of issuing IDs to Kenyans so that they can register as voters,” IEBC constituency coordinator Peter Kuria said.
ID CARDS ISSUED
However, county Registrar of Persons Joseph Kung’u fought back, saying the department had issued 42,085 new identity cards between January 2013 and December 2015.
During the period, 20,278 people were issued with identity cards in Laikipia East, 1,611 in Laikipia North and 20,196 in Laikipia West.
“I am not sure the IEBC has registered all these potential voters but I suspect they have not.
“So when there are claims that IDs are a factor, the numbers are clear that the IEBC has not managed to register half of these new ID holders,” Mr Kung’u said.
More significant, the registrar said, is that there were people with identity cards who had not registered as voters.
Mr Kung’u said the electoral commission could not meet its target even after his department gave it an office to be able to register more new voters as they collected their ID cards from Nanyuki.
Apart from the lack of ID cards, Mr Kuria said there were 22 biometric voter registration kits issued to the expansive constituency and one machine could stay at one station for only two days.
He said many university and college students could not register as there were in their institutions and the numbers would have been better had the exercise been carried out during the holidays.