SECTIONS

Civic education better than mere voter listing drives

As the 2017 General Election draws near, politicians are employing all manner of schemes to ensure their strongholds register high number of voters compared to those of their opponents.

Some citizens cannot eat at funerals or board matatus without evidence of having enlisted with the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC). Politicians are leaving nothing to chance in their bid to win seats in the forthcoming elections.

In Western region for instance, a group of legislators drawn from the four counties of Bungoma, Busia, Kakamega and Vihiga have launched voter registration drives aimed at having not less than six million registered voters by the time elections are called.

There are yet other regions where vernacular radio stations have taken over this role from politicians by mobilising listeners during breakfast shows.

These are just but a few examples of desperate moves politicians are making to either maintain the status quo or win seats by using voters as pawns in what is shaping up to be a high-octane political contest.

While having a population that fully participates in an electoral process is highly desirable especially for a democratic society like ours, impressing upon citizens to register so as to be safe from an impending disaster of a takeover from opponents reeks of blackmail.

The message these politicians are passing is that voters are under siege, implying that “it is us versus them” when in the real sense it is about politicians and their egos.

That’s why every politician is asking his people to register with IEBC but very few are following it up with civic education or are encouraging them to vote in selfless leaders with the interests of citizens at heart.

It therefore behooves us as citizens to do more than just voting. We need to speak, write, petition, assemble, agitate and support good policies.

{Collins Musanga, Kakamega}

The voter-registration song being sang by politicians in preparation for 2017 General Election is boring to the ears.

Concerned parties should come up with civic education programmes to educate the public on the importance of having national identification cards.

Over the years, politicians have not taken responsibility to educate the public on the benefits of having identification cards. Therefore most people in rural areas think that IDs are only important during the campaign period.

An ID has a lot of importance and benefits. It is like a gate pass to your opportunity when applying for a job and it’s proof that you are a Kenyan citizen.

When doing any legal transaction, an ID copy will be required.

It is even more important when one dies because without it, family members will find it rough to administer the deceased’s estate.

 

It is my humble request for politicians that as they politic in funerals and public gatherings, they should offer civic education on the benefits of having national identification cards.

With civic education put in place, there will be mature voting come 2017.

[Nicholas Ouma, Kisumu}