With the deadline for voter registration lapsing on Tuesday, politicians are lining up for the final stretch as the elections race begins to take shape.
Politicians allied to the Jubilee Party and the National Super Alliance (Nasa) are racing against time to register new voters in the face of serious voter apathy especially in the opposition dominated areas, according to the IEBC reports.
Unlike in the 2013 race when the opposition mainly concentrated their campaigns in Nairobi, the Nasa brigade is this time leaving nothing to chance.
While campaigning in Nyandarua on Friday, the President ordered the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) clerks to register youths who are holding waiting cards, causing confusion over the regulations guiding registration of voters as set by the commission.
“I am now saying that even an applicant with a waiting card, as long as it has a serial number, should go and register as a voter,” President Kenyatta reportedly said at Magumu trading centre.
While Mr Odinga has taken his campaign as far as President Kenyatta’s Meru stronghold, the Head of State has maintained a carefully selected campaign targeting potential Jubilee strongholds around the country and in Nairobi.
The Nasa team was in the Rift Valley last weekend to mobilise voters in the area to register.
Last week, Mr Odinga ordered all ODM MPs to retreat to their constituencies but complained about lack of identity cards.
“We have realised that there are many people in opposition zones who have no national identity cards. We are experiencing longer queues for ID registration than for voter registration,” he lamented.
He further claimed that an executive order by the President to have IDs released in three days was being implemented only in Jubilee strongholds.
But investigations by the Sunday Nation established that National Registration Bureau workers had been ordered back to office this weekend to work on huge files of new applications.
In some areas corrupt officers especially in the Provincial Administration were demanding Sh50 from new applicants further complicating the implementation of the presidential order.
President Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto were on Saturday mobilising voters in Kajiado County.
“Today we are in Kajiado but we have no plans of campaigning on Monday and Tuesday. We have passed our message and it is time to give the potential voters time to come out and register,” said Mr David Mugonyi, who is Mr Ruto’s spokesman, said on Saturday.
And Mr Odinga, too, will stay out of the campaign on Sunday but will resume on Monday when he tours Kisii and Turkana later in the week.
Even as the IEBC appeared to have also lost out after obviously failing to meet the 6.1 million target, chairman Wafula Chebukati declined requests for an extension.
On Saturday, Mr Chebukati questioned the order by the President, which was already being implemented especially in Meru County, saying the commission cannot allow waiting cards to be used to register.
“Take note that the waiting cards cannot be used to register voters. The only valid documents are either your national ID card or a valid passport,” Mr Chebukati said.
He further advised those who registered using passports in 2012 to update their registration details arguing that expired passports too will not be allowed.
On the failure by the commission to meet targets, Mr Chebukati said the IEBC had done its part after mobilising 25,000 personnel and 8,000 kits across the country for the exercise.
“We also opened opportunities for those in schools, universities and Huduma Centres to ensure that as many eligible voters as possible are enlisted,” Mr Chebukati said.
But the Wiper Democratic Movement party leader thinks the IEBC should extend the drive by one week to allow the processing of all pending IDs.
“We need at least one week to have everybody, including newly listed ID holders, listed,” Mr Musyoka said.
In Mombasa County only 78,000 out of 151,000 have registered. Kisauni, Nyali and Likoni are leading with 18,576, 13,657 and 13,038 respectively in week three, which showed a below average turnout.
Kwale County has managed 46,832 with Kinango and Msambweni at the peak after recording 14,117 and 11,992.
In Kirinyaga, Gichugu constituency is at the peak but it has only registered 8,630 though this is 55 per cent of the total anticipated IEBC target.
In Murang’a, Kiharu is leading followed by Maragwa after recording 12,475 and 11,440, all above 50 per cent of the IEBC target.
In Kiambu, the populous Thika has listed 20,125 new voters while Juja has listed 17,607, which is recorded as 96 per cent of the projected numbers.
Of all the eight constituencies in Homa Bay, Ndhiwa has listed more after registering 9,040 with Karachuonyo following closely with 8,139. Suba is third with 5,682 already listed.
Kisii County has only listed 22 per cent of the target with Bobasi leading with 7,519 followed by Nyaribari Chache with 6,644. No constituency has recorded 30 per cent registration.
Constituencies in Siaya County are doing under 40 per cent with Bondo leading with 9,279 followed by Alego Usonga 7,031 in the total tally of 36,188 out of the 96,609 targeted by the commission.
In Kisumu all constituencies have missed the target. But Kisumu Central, where many youths have just registered for IDs, has managed 13,415 while Kisumu East has listed 7,524. The entire county has recorded 51,705 against a target of 131,511.
Though Nairobi has recorded 251,024, the target of 604,505 is far from being met. Embakasi South has managed 20,995 of its 33,811 target to top the 17 constituencies while Starehe has 18,916 and Kasarani 17,538.
On Saturday, Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero faulted President Kenyatta for driving in the city only to mobilise voters in Jubilee strongholds while ignoring other parts.
“We are still in shock after the President drove in speaking vernacular in a capital city where even the Chinese are residents. His vote listing drive was biased despite holding the seat meant to be a symbol of unity,” Dr Kidero said.
Jubilee’s Maara MP Kareke Mbiuki, however, said that the President’s campaign around the country has succeeded.
“His mobilisation has helped us. I’m sure after the records are tabulated, all these people making noise will go quiet.”