Kenyans in last minute rush to list as voters

It is not in doubt that Kenyans are given to last-minute rush.

And on Tuesday, they did not disappoint when they flocked voter registration centres, hours to the expiry of the month-long listing.

Armed with IDs, they thronged voter listing centres countrywide, with many spending hours in queues that had not been witnessed for the whole month.

In Nakuru, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) offices were a beehive of activity, with many residents seeking the green light to vote as other sought to transfer their polling stations.

IEBC Acting Coordinator for Central Rift Paul Kones said the number eligible voters at listing centres shot up on Monday, with some stations doubling the numbers they were witnessing per day.

“For instance, Nakuru East recorded 1,400 people while Nakuru West had 1,200 up from an average of 600,” Mr Kones said.

So far, 236,585 people have registered in the Central Rift with Nakuru County leading with 150,102 new voters.

vota+2 Kenyans in last minute rush to list as voters

Kenyans in a last minute rush to beat voter registration deadline at MV Patel Memorial Hall in Eldoret on February 14,2017. PHOTO | WYCLIFF KIPSANG | NATION MEDIA GROUP

He however said the figure is below the region’s target registering 437,214 voters by the end of the exercise.

Mr Kones maintained that the deadline would not be extended.

“At the end of the day today, we will pull our officials from the field. Tomorrow we will begin compiling the list before sending it to the IEBC headquarters in Nairobi for further compilation,” Mr Kones said.

There were long queues at registration centres in Nakuru, a stark contrast to the last 29 days when registration centres were virtually empty.

Residents who spoke to Nation said they had other engagements.

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Nakuru residents flock IEBC regional offices seeking to register as voters or change their polling stations on February 14, 2017. PHOTO | REITZ MUREITHI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Mr Paul Maina, a boda boda rider, said he had to get a licence for his motorbike before going to register.

IEBC list on voters registered so far in Central Rift shows Nakuru County leading with 150,102 against the target of 262,914, Laikipia has 40,228 new voters, Baringo (31,325) and Samburu (9,199).

In North Rift, thousands of eligible voters are likely to be locked out of the exercise over claims that their demands were not met.

An estimated 300,000 out of the targeted 700,000 new voters have so far been registered— less than half of the eligible voters.

Leaders in the region are now calling on the government and IEBC to extend the listing.

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Residents queue to register as voters at the Kilifi North IEBC office on February 14, 2017. PHOTOS | KAZUNGU SAMUEL | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Among the demands by the residents, especially in areas affected by cattle rustling, was deployment of additional security personnel to guarantee the safety of their lives and property.

They also wanted improved roads to enable them access markets with their agricultural and livestock produce.

“What is the point of registering as a voter yet there is no guarantee of voting due to insecurity?” said Ekai Ekuam, Nakukulus who lives on the border of insecurity-hit Turkana and Baringo counties.

In Baringo, Turkana, West Pokot and Elgeyo Marakwet counties, some of the voters have been forced to relocate from their homes to safer areas due to frequent attacks.

“How can we register as voters yet the government has ignored our plight? We will not vote for leaders who have already failed us,” said Stanley Loter, who is one of the professionals in Kapedo.

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Long queues at the Laikipia West IEBC office in Nyahururu town on February 14, 2017.Most of residents visited the office to transfer their polling stations. PHOTO | STEVE NJUGUNA | NATION MEDIA

Uncollected national identity cards also affected the voter registration exercise with many residents flocking Huduma centers to beat the deadline.

There are more than 10,000 uncollected national identification cards in the region.

The Regional Registrar of Persons Paul Keitany on Tuesday called on applicants to collect the cards from their respective administration offices and Huduma centers to enable them resister as voters.

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The public queue to register as voters at Kisii Huduma Center on February 14, 2017. PHOTO | BENSON MOMANYI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

More mobile stations, he said, had been set up to enable Kenyans access ID card services and register as voters.

There was a long queue at the Laikipia West IEBC office in Nyahururu town with most voters seeking to transfer their voting stations.

Most of those who sought to transfer voting stations were from Miteta, Sipili and Rumuruti areas.

Reported by Reitz Mureithi, Uzzler Achieng, Barnabas Bii and Steve Njuguna.


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