Only 81,923 Kenyans have registered as voters since April 2013 despite concerted efforts by various groups to encourage the youth to enrol ahead of the 2017 elections.
The figures show suspected voter apathy among young Kenyans who appear non-responsive to political campaigns and the continuous voter registration programmes targeting high numbers in the vote listing by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).
In an interview with the Nation, IEBC Chief Executive Officer Dr Ezra Chiloba described the numbers as “discouraging” given the high interest in ID card.
“The figures are far below expectations for the past two years.
“We want to encourage Kenyans to register as voters,” said Dr Chiloba.
In 2012 when the last national voter registration exercise was conducted, 5.6 million Kenyans registered by the National Registration Bureau (NRB) did not register as voters.
1.9 MILLION NEW IDS
Details obtained from NRB indicate that 1.9 million Kenyans have acquired new IDs since 2013, portraying an unexplainable disinterest in voter registration by the applicants and increasing the number of Kenyans not listed in crucial voters roll to 7.5 million.
A document exclusively seen by the Nation indicates that former Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka’s home turf of Lower Eastern with 22 constituencies is leading in voter registration.
It has enrolled 11,856 voters over the period with Cord leader Raila Odinga’s backyard of Central Nyanza with 21 constituencies at the second spot with 10,734 new registered voters.
Kakamega region with 8,067 new listings and 17 constituencies is in the third place while Bungoma region has registered 7,741 in its 16 constituencies.
IEBC now plans to roll out a major voter listing programme in November to target half of the estimated eight million Kenyans.
4 MILLION VOTERS TARGETED
“We plan to enrol about four million new voters during the national voter registration exercise to be launched in November-December,” said Dr Chiloba.
He said that the November-December exercise would require Sh2 billion but the National Treasury has only allocated about Sh500 million in the current budget.
Dr Chiloba indicated that IEBC could run another national voter listing exercise in 2016, months before the General Election expected in 2017.
Wednesday, Suba MP John Mbadi accused the government of sabotaging IEBC by starving it of resources to conduct proper voter registration given the population that is yet to be registered.
“We are going to push for more funds for IEBC through the supplementary budget to enable them register people,” he said.
He said Cord is keen on pushing for more ID registration then turn to voter registration later.
Jubilee Alliance Party Vice-Chairman David Murathe said the government side is not worried about the numbers yet.