Leaders trade accusations over low voter enlistment

Top civil servants and traders deployed in Mt Kenya region to mobilise residents to register as voters have been blamed for low registration numbers in some of the counties.

The Cabinet secretaries, principal secretaries and parastatal chiefs have been accused of hoarding money released for the campaign, favouring some politicians and coming up with ineffective strategies.

Consequently, local politicians have kept off the voter registration campaign.

Nyeri is the most affected, with just 32,223 new voters registered in the county by last Wednesday, against a target of 161,359.

Former Chief of the Kenya Defence Forces Julius Karangi has called a crisis meeting of all aspirants today to discuss ways of rescuing the campaign.

Mr Karangi is part of a team tasked with implementing a three-pronged strategy to shore up voter numbers.

The first strategy is a campaign by a group of wealthy businessmen under the Mt Kenya Foundation, the second by PSs and CSs and the third by elected leaders.

Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru, Health PS Nicholas Muraguri and Gen Karangi are some of the top officials leading the campaign.

But the three groups have clashed following differences in strategies, cash raised and ego fights.

Last Thursday, more than 70 aspirants quit the campaign spearheaded by the Mt Kenya Foundation after differing on strategy.

The Mt Kenya Foundation is headed by Equity Bank chairman Peter Munga.

“The foundation wanted trucks to concentrate on campaigning in town centres while we wanted them in the villages and in remote areas,” said former Kenya Dairy Board MD Machira Gichohi.

For his part, Knut executive secretary Mutahi Kahiga said: “How do you give money to Nairobians to come mobilise voters in Nyeri and you do not involve locals who are not politicians?”

Mathira MP Peter Weru said politicians had been left out.

Nyeri Town MP Esther Murugi said the voter mobilisation cash is not being put to use and is “instead being spent it in luxury places”.

In Kirinyaga, local Jubilee leaders have accused Interior PS Karanja Kibicho of meddling in the voter registration.

County party chairman John Mithamo accused the PS of taking charge of the voter registration campaigns yet he is a civil servant.

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