Migori leaders' bid to push up voter registration

ODM supporters urged to ‘adopt’ counties and registration centres to ensure the numbers are achieved. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

Politicians in Migori have asked security agencies to facilitate the quick issuance of identity cards to locals.

The leaders said there were concerns across Migori's eight sub-counties that the rigorous vetting of eligible applicants was slowing down the process.

The fact that Migori is a border county, the leaders said, had complicated the issuance of the vital document, with many eligible Kenyans missing out on claims they are foreigners. The county borders Tanzania to the south and Uganda through Migingo Island in Lake Victoria.

Addressing a press conference in Nairobi today, seven ODM aspirants seeking to succeed governor Okoth Obado said while Kenyan officials have the responsibility to prevent the influx of foreigners into the country through registration rackets, innocent Kenyans seeking the document should not suffer as a result.

“We are calling on chiefs and their assistants to facilitate rapid registration. Turnaround time for getting IDs should be shorter. Only this will accelerate the issuance of the document so that eligible voters can register to vote in the coming elections,” said Christopher Rosana.

County commissioner Meru Mwangi has previously indicated Huduma cards and national IDs are being distributed through chiefs and assistant chiefs to allow the owners to register as voters. Rosana, who led the governorship aspirants in challenging residents to register en mass to vote in the August 9 General Election, said they had launched a door to door voter mobilisation. He said a team on the ground had mapped out areas lagging in voter listing.

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) kicked off the second mass voter registration on January 17 and will take place until February 6. “We will take personal responsibility to ensure as many voters register ahead of the February 6 deadline,” Rosana, who’s the outgoing Migori County Secretary told journalists.

He was accompanied by governor aspirants Dalmas Otieno, John Pesa, Owiso Ngao, Pamela Odhiambo, Phillip Mwabe and former Nyatike MP Omondi Anyanga, who is chairing the county’s ODM team tasked with mobilizing voter registration.

The leaders spoke in the backdrop of IEBC reports that Migori has so far registered 15,234 new voters across its eight sub-counties against the projection of 110,869.  Pesa called on ODM supporters to ‘adopt’ counties and registration centres to ensure the numbers are achieved. “We want locals to vote for Azimio flag bearer Raila Odinga and vote for change,” Pesa said.

The aspirants said they had set aside their political differences to preach peace and mobilise support for Raila’s State House bid. Dalmas said they had held a series of meetings with residents “with a view to ensuring no one is left behind in the voter registration”. Meanwhile, the ODM leaders urged the party to go for consensus in picking candidates for various seats, saying it will avert post-primaries acrimony.

“But in seeking consensus, we advise the party to involve us wholly in the process,” Mwabe said.