Voter apathy in Migori by-election worrying

Voters line up to cast their ballot at Uruba Primary School in Suna West Constituency during Migori County senate by-election yesterday. [Caleb Kingwara, Standard]
The Migori County Senatorial by-election took place yesterday. It was occasioned by the death of Senator Ben Oluoch Okello in June this year. No doubt, the by election was the first major test for IEBC after the 2017 General Election. Its 388,000 registered voters were expected to cast their votes.

By and large, campaigns for the seat were peaceful, a welcome relief from the usually chaotic scenes during campaigns and on election days that have cast Migori in bad light before.

The intensity and the seriousness with which parties took the by-election was evident when  high profile politicians and party bigwigs pitched camp in the region for the last few days. Nothing was being left to chance. But despite the spirited campaigns, much of the voting was characterised by low voter turnout in the more than 1,000 polling stations. Though claims of voter bribery surfaced, the police were quick to dispel such talk as falsehoods.

Yet despite all, voter apathy was evident.  What this means is that voter education must be prioritized to make voters understand and appreciate the importance of voting. Evidently in Migori, registered voters preferred tending their farms and engaging in other activities than going to vote, completely unaware of what impact their actions have on their leadership and their future.

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Indeed, not able to differentiate between the roles of a Senator and a Governor, many voters could not be bothered. Thus, it behooves IEBC and relevant agencies to carry out periodic sensitization campaigns, if only to get people interested.

Migori By-electionVoter ApathyIEBCMigori County