President Uhuru Kenyatta has ordered election officials countrywide to allow young people without identity cards to register as voters as long as they have waiting slips for their IDs.
“I am now saying even an applicant with a waiting card — as long as it has a serial number — go and register as a voter,” said Mr Kenyatta at Magumu Trading Centre in Nyandarua County.
Magumu was the first stop in his whirlwind tour of Nyandarua, Laikipia and Nakuru counties.
He spoke with four days to the end of the voter registration campaign, which ends on Tuesday.
Contacted for a comment on the President’s directive, a senior registrations of persons official said a waiting slip cannot be used to apply for a voter’s card.
“You can’t register as a voter with a waiting slip,” the official said, requesting anonymity because he is not authorised to speak to the media.
According to him, only the number on the ID can be used to register a voter.
Addressing crowds at various stopovers, President Kenyatta said that time is running out for them to take the vote.
“Do not waste your democratic right to vote by failing to register as a voter. Your voter’s card is the weapon that will enable you to choose the leaders you want,” said the President, who is seeking a second term in the August 8 election.
In all the stopovers, he hit out at Cord leader Raila Odinga, accusing him of crying foul after every step the government takes to revamp the Independent Electoral Boundaries Commission.
“It is difficult to know whether he wants to become a player or a referee,” said Mr Kenyatta in Nyahururu Town.
In an apparent response to fears that those seeking elective posts would be unfairly locked out during the Jubilee Party nominations, the President said he had no preferred candidates and asked party supporters to shun leaders claiming to enjoy his blessings.
Tomorrow, the President will take the voter registration campaign to Nakuru County where he will address residents in Total Junction, Molo, Salgaa, Njoro, Ngata Farm, Nakuru Town and Gilgil before winding up his tour in Naivasha Town.
His visit comes hardly a week after Deputy President William Ruto toured the area in what was seen as their last ditch efforts to ensure eligible voters in the region — believed to be part of a Jubilee stronghold — register in large numbers.
In the central Rift region, Nakuru is so far leading with 92,000 newly-registered voters.
The electoral commission will announce the final figures of the new voters on Tuesday.
Its chairman, Mr Wafula Chebukati and CEO, Mr Ezra Chiloba, have consistently said that they will not extend the time for registration.
Ahead of the President’s visit to the three counties, leaders from the region drafted a wish list to present to him on the issues they want addressed by the Jubilee administration.
Roads, construction of an airport, improving water supply and revival of the once lucrative pyrethrum farming were among the issues they wanted Mr Kenyatta to address.
Pyrethrum farmers in both Nyandarua and Nakuru want the President to give the sector Sh1 billion, just as he did with miraa farmers in Mt Kenya East region to them to help revive the crop.
Nakuru residents of Nakuru also want the construction of a proposed airport to be hastened.
The Rift Valley Council of Elders, through its chairman, Mr Gilbert Kabage, also wants President Kenyatta to address the issue of land mainly in parts of Nakuru.
“We expect the President to address matters likely to be a source of chaos as we approach the August 8 polls,” he said.
As if to anticipate some of the issues the leaders wanted addressed, President Kenyatta challenged voters to pick leaders who will manage resources prudently.
He said that apart from the Sh200 billion allocated to the county governments each year, MPs also manage kitties worth Sh100 million annually.
“These are resources that can transform lives if managed well. That is why it is important for you to register as a voter so that you can participate in electing people who ensure that these resources are used for the intended purposes to improve your lives,” he said in Nyandarua.
He warned voters that if they fail to register they should not complain about bad leadership and mismanagement of public funds.
Referring the hundreds of youth in each stopovers as his “army” he urged the youths to mobilise their peers who have not registered.
“The voters card is your last bullet and if you want me to win this election I plead with you to register as voters,” he said at Njabini Trading Centre.
Additional reporting by Eric Matara