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Voter listing new battlefront in Raila, Ruto State House contest

By Moses Nyamori | Jan 20th 2022 | 2 min read


IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati (Center) addressing the press in Naivasha, Nakuru County on January 7, 2022. [Kipsang Joseph, Standard]

The 50 per cent plus one vote constitutional requirement for first-round victory in the presidential race has triggered a spirited drive to ensure the 4.5 million eligible but unregistered voters enlist.

Deputy President William Ruto and ODM leader Raila Odinga are pulling all the stops to rally their strongholds to enlist en mass in a bid to tilt the outcome in their favour.

The two have instructed aspirants and elected leaders within their formations to retreat to their wards and constituencies to mobilise the unregistered youth to enlist.

The leaders have included voter registration mobilisation in their campaign rallies. Sources say the two camps were also working with chiefs and their assistants to assist in distribution of uncollected national identification documents.

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) seeks to add the 4.5 million targeted new voters to its roll that has more than 21 million voters.

The 2017 General Election voter register had 19,611,423, with the first phase of the mass voter registration conducted last year, providing additional 1,519,294 new voters.

This implies that by the time of going to the poll, the roll could have more than 25 million voters, with over five million being first time voters. IEBC will, however, have to knock out dead voters from the register.

The concerted efforts by the two camps come after apathy by youth to enlist in the first round of registration in what raised fears of a possible voter apathy in the August 9 polls.

Apart from mobilising youth to register, the aspirants will have to rally their regions to turn up and vote. Data by IEBC shows that some areas record low voter turnout.

“Our single most patriotic duty is to have a voter’s card. I ask the youth to vote for right leaders, right politics and the right government that will address their needs and aspirations. It is you to decide, and you cannot decide without a voter’s card. Register as a voter now,” said Ruto on Tuesday.

Similar remarks were made by the ODM leader who described elections as a war won at the ballot. “In the 21 days, we will not sleep; we will march daily to ensure our supporters register as voters. Even if you want it to be done at night, so be it, funds are available,” said Raila.

“If you want change, you need to be the change. It starts with you registering today at a registration centre near you,” he added, stating that people no longer fight for leadership using weapons but through votes.

Yesterday, UDA Secretary General Veronica Maina said: “We are going to activate lobby groups, women and youth groups to help us get the message to the grassroots.”

“We are telling aspirants to remind people to register,” said Raila’s campaigns board chairman and Laikipia Governor Ndiritu Muriithi.

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