Kitui leaders have urged the Kamba community to vote massively come the 2017 General Elections to have a share of the national cake in the next government.
Former lands Cabinet Secretary Ms Charity Ngilu, Senator David Musila, Governor Dr Julius Malombe and Mwingi North MP John Munuve on Saturday called on locals to massively register as voters during next month’s countrywide voter registration drive to be carried out by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).
They spoke during the burial of the County Executive member for Culture, Youth, Gender, Sports and Social Services Ms Jane Kanyiva Musembi at Mbui Primary School grounds in Kyuso, Mwingi North constituency.
Ms Ngilu said registering as voters and voting overwhelmingly is the only way the community can redeem itself from being sidelined in the setting of the national agenda.
“We have been ‘mistreated’ because we don’t vote well. Everyone must be ready to register and vote to be inside the next government,” she said.
The former Kitui Central MP said they will unite as leaders to urge residents in the grassroots to register as voters.
“We have another chance to be in the government but this will only be achieved by marshalling our people to vote massively,” she said.
REGISTER AS VOTERS
Ms Ngilu urged Ukambani residents aged 18 years and above to apply for national identification (ID) cards and register as voters to strengthen the community’s voting muscle.
She said it was worrying that a large number of people in Ukambani were ineligible to participate in elections owing to lack of ID and voter cards despite being of age.
Senator Musila said in the 2013 general elections 500,000 people in the region did not vote despite more than a million of the populace having been registered as voters.
“We have to take this issue of voting seriously. It is only your votes that can uplift our community,” Mr Musila said.
Mr Musila, the Wiper Democratic Movement party chairman, asked the IEBC to employ election officers in every voting station.
“If the electoral body is serious with what they are doing, they should make sure there are registration officers in every station,” he said.
The senator, who in the recent past, has been reported to be at loggerheads with Governor Dr Malombe, said there exists no rivalry between him and the county boss.
“I am not in fight with Dr Malombe as it has been reported in some sections of the media. If he (Malombe) is fighting me let him say here,” Mr Musila said.
He said come 2017, all electoral posts will be declared vacant and then he will be free to choose the appropriate post to contest according to the will of the residents.
“Let us remain calm; there is no need to fight each other,” Mr Musila said.
The senator, however blamed IEBC for low volume of voter registration in Ukambani.
“The electoral body has been sidelining our region during countrywide voter registration exercises. Limited registration points are set in Ukambani while other regions enjoy almost as many centers as there are polling stations,” Mr Musila said.
“In Ukambani, you will find only one registration point has been set up to cater for a very vast area, this is unfair and unacceptable,” lamented Mr Musila adding that the Kamba community has the constitutional right to receive fair treatment from all state agencies including the IEBC.
“We demand that the IEBC sets up as many voter registration points as possible across this region during the next month’s voter registration exercise so that every eligible resident can get an opportunity to register as a voter as we prepare for the 2017 general polls,” stated the senator.
Mr Musila also accused the national government of a ‘deliberate’ move to deny persons of age in Ukambani the chance to register as voters in 2013 through delayed issuance of ID cards.
“In 2013, our people applied for national identity cards as a prerequisite to register as voters but the ID cards were delayed until after the elections were over, we suspected this was a ploy by influential parties to weaken the region’s voting power,” he said.
He added: “We want to tell those responsible that we are very alert this time round and we won’t allow anyone to play tricks on the Kamba community.”
Dr Malombe eulogised his deceased member of the cabinet saying: “Once you gave her any assignment, she never used to disappoint. Her performance was excellent.”
He said her demise robbed his government “a diligent, dedicated and selfless public servant who served all without fear or favour”.
Mr Munuve urged leaders in the region to avoid drawing enmity out of politics but instead be ready to accept defeat whenever they lose in elections and cooperate with those elected to bring development to the people.
The late county minister died on December 27, 2015 at MP Shah Hospital.