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Nairobi takes early lead in registration of new voters

COUNTIES
By Rawlings Otieno | January 25th 2017
Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Chairman Wafula Chebukati (centre) Chief Executive Officer Ezra Chiloba(right) and commissioner Consolata Nkatha Bucha during a press brief at the IEBC offices in Nairobi on the ongoing mass registration campaign that will continue until February 14th. 24/01/2017. Photo by WILLIS AWANDU

Nairobi, Kiambu and Kilifi are the leading counties in the number of new voters registered so far.

Of the 825,145 new electors listed in the first week of the mass voter registration, Nairobi is leading with 95,966 ahead of Kiambu (61,541), Kilifi (38,339), Nakuru (35, 815) and Meru (33,285).

However, the number is below the weekly target of 1.4 million new voters the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) set for itself.

Meanwhile, Mombasa listed 28,618 new voters while Murang'a has 26,393. Others are Kakamega (25,451) and Bungoma (21,331) as Kisumu closed the top 10 counties with 21,254 new registrations.

Counties that registered the least number of voters are Lamu (2,169), Isiolo (2,243), Marsabit (2,722), Wajir (5,102) and Baringo (5,707).

IEBC is hoping to list over 6 million new voters during the month-long exercise even though the country has 9 million people with identity cards who are yet to register.

EXCEED TARGET

The electoral commission hopes to meet and even exceed its target within the 21 days left to the close of the exercise ahead of the August 8 General Election.

"We wish to remind Kenyans the exercise will continue until February 14. We urge them to register and not wait until the last day. We will not extend this period," said IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati.

Mr Chebukati cited the drought currently ravaging most parts of the country and insecurity as some of the challenges they faced.

"The commission has received reports that drought in some counties has had a negative impact on voter registration due to the movement of people. We have also received reports of insecurity in some parts of the country, especially in Mandera, Pokot and Turkana," he said.

Last week, there was reports of gun battles between the police and suspected Al-Shabaab terrorists at Jilomata Centre in Hulugho ward of Ijara Constituency. This affected voter registration.

IEBC is also considering setting up mobile registration centres in colleges and universities.

"There are concerns about the registration of youths currently in colleges away from their voting areas. The commission is taking immediate measures to address the challenge, including considering the use of mobile registration centres," said the newly appointed chairman in his first address since assuming office.

Flanked by IEBC's new commissioners, Chebukati noted an analysis conducted by the commission at the beginning of this month on the status of the voter register, which shows there are 128,926 shared registration documents (national ID and passport numbers), representing 0.8 per cent of the total number of voters in the database.

The analysis further indicates the shared ID numbers could be the result of data entry errors at the time of registration, possible use of one ID to register more than once, attempted registration of more than one person using same ID or shared national ID numbers.

Out of the 128,926 records of shared IDs, 107,777 show the same ID number but different names.

A further analysis showed 53,671 of the IDs were shared more than once. The remaining 21,149 are for persons who attempted to register more than once at different polling stations.

IEBC is now warning any individuals who might have registered twice or used a different person's ID.

"It is a criminal offence to register twice. Those found capable will face the law," said Chebukati.

The commission said it was working with the National Registration Bureau to correct the anomalies. The chairman said an audit of the voter register would clear double registrations and any other issues.

In terms of achieving registration targets, Kajiado County is leading by 200 per cent, exceeding the target of 7,766 after listing 15,336 new voters.

BEST COUNTY

It is followed by Garissa with 12,236 against a target of 9,558, representing 128 per cent. Kirinyaga recorded 17,194 against an expected 15,347 (112 per cent); Kiambu exceeded the target of 58,448, representing 105 per cent, while Murang'a closed as the fifth best county for exceeding expectations with 26,393 against a target of 27,610 (96 per cent).

The worst performing counties include Samburu that recorded 1,315 against a target of 7,187, representing only 18 per cent. Baringo follows with only 5,707 against a target of 17,690 (32 per cent), followed by Amani National Congress (ANC) leader Musalia Mudavadi's political turf of Vihiga at 33 per cent, registering 11,162 against a target of 34,332.

The home turf of presidential aspirant Senator Kennedy Mong'are (Nyamira) has registered only 7,517 new voters against a target of 21,252, representing 35 per cent.

Kericho County has recorded 10,526 new electors against a target of 29,206 representing 36 per cent.

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