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Why the youths are not coming out to register as voters
By Maureen Kirigha | Updated Feb 05, 2017 at 10:14 EAT

The low voter turnout that is being witnessed in many parts of the is being attributed to the loss of confidence in the electoral body to deliver free, fair and credible elections. ​Speaking on Saturday during a consultative meeting meant to develop mechanisms to improve voter registration in Taita Taveta from the current 17%, a section of village elders anchored their argument on the history of the electoral body to deliver unbiased results.They said that this has discouraged most eligible voters from enlisting. The new Independent and Electoral Boundaries Commission (IEBC) chairman Wafula Chebukati has however made it clear that delivering a free fair and credible election requires the input of not only the commissioners but also that of all stakeholders,that is politicians, voters and the civil societies. Youths have also questioned politicians ability to deliver on their promises after being elected, based on this they conclude it is a waste of time to cast a vote while others call for handouts as a motivation to register as voters. Taita Taveta Governor John Mruttu has warned against this trend saying not registering as a voter risks the wrong contenders clinching the seats hindering the development of a society.IEBC Mass voter registration baseline studies indicate that by December 2016, a total of 102,036 County residents holding IDs had not registered as voters prompting IEBC to target 67% of this number.During the ongoing mass voter registration exercise, Mwatate Sub-county has only registered 3,375 new voters while Taita Sub county registers between 130 and 190 people per day compared to Voi where 240 to 550 are registered per day.The County Government has called upon village elders to forward names of youths with waiting cards to County officials to fastrack acquisition of IDs while Taita Sub county chiefs warn that residents above the age of 25 without IDs risk jail term.

Meanwhile,registering as a voter gives an individual an authority to hold leaders accountable and to choose preferred leader.

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