Observers blame low turn on youth's failure to participate in polls


Election officials and security officers queue as they return ballot boxes at the Mathioya constituency tallying centre at Kiriani girls high school on August 9, 2022. [Martin Mukangu, Standard]


The youths have been blamed for the low voter turnout in some vital voting blocs across the country compared to previous elections.

On Wednesday, August 10, 2022, IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati in a press briefing said some 14, 164,651 out of the 22. 1 million voters turned out to vote in Tuesday's General Election. This represents a 64.5 per cent voter turnout.

This, however, excluded voters who were identified using a manual register in select regions.

Former anti-corruption czar John Githongo and now election observer said that he was appalled that majority of youths did not participate in the polls which was a sign that all was not well with them.

"The turnout was really the lowest but the most outstanding thing was lack of participation by the young people across the country. It tells a lot that the people who should be concerned with the outcome of the polls are the ones who have not participated," said Githongo.

Prof Karuti Kanyinga another election observer said that youths failure to participate in the election was an indictment to the government, the presidential candidates and their messaging.

"The young people are saying they are not buying the promises they are being given. They seem to be saying that they are tired with the pledges from the political class and do not trust the party manifestos," said Prof Kanyinga.

In 2013, some 86 per cent of registered voters turned out to vote; in 2017 the figure stood at 78 per cent. 

The subdued voter turnout may have been bad for individual candidates banking on a huge turnout, but it was worse for Kenya’s path to credible and representative elections.

The IEBC, under siege for most of the day yesterday over failure of the Kiems kits and the cancellation of two governor elections as well as several national assembly and county assembly polls, insisted that the turnout was not out of the ordinary.