We now have a voters’ register and the number crunchers are hard at work, trying to make an informed calculation on what way the next elections may go.
Hard at work too are the rumour-mongers and fake news creators.
This week, we debunk one piece of fake news around the voters’ register and go back to another persistent one about campaign financing, which was another topical issue this week.
1. Number of voters in Tharaka Nithi has reduced
Tharaka Nithi gained infamy in 2007 when votes from the then Nithi constituency were said to have helped Mwai Kibaki secure a disputed victory over Raila Odinga and secure a second term.
What happened after the election is now known as one of Kenya’s darkest chapters.
This week, after IEBC released the final voters’ register, word went round that the number of voters in Tharaka Nithi have reduced from 2007 to date.
This was circulated on WhatsApp.
The correct position is that this is not the case.
First, there is no longer a constituency called Nithi – which had 103,886 voters in 2007.
In the present Tharaka Nithi County, there are three constituencies: Tharaka, Chuka-Igambang’ombe and Maara.
In 2013, Tharaka Nithi County had 155,904 voters. This has increased to 213,154 in the register published by IEBC.
Furthermore, Tharaka and Nithi, the two constituencies in the then Meru South District in 2007, had a combined total of 144,076 voters in 2005, suggesting the increase in number of registered voters in the county that they now form is not abnormal, and has definitely not reduced.
2. American organisation is to withdraw funding for Nasa/ Raila Odinga
Attention was drawn to a purported letter advising Vanguard Africa to withdraw funding for Mr Odinga because he is fomenting balkanisation in his campaigns and could cause instability in Kenya.
Despite having identified as fake earlier, this letter was back in circulation this week, perhaps because of new revelations about campaign financing in Kenya.
The correct position is that there is no such letter.
In a statement on May 22, Vanguard Africa described itself as “a non-profit organisation committed to advancing ethical leadership and driving support for free, fair and credible elections throughout Africa, including in Kenya.”
The organisation said it hosted Mr Odinga in Washington DC from March 13 to 16 and discussed the importance of the coming elections.
It added it has never dispersed any money to Mr Odinga or his party.