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Leaders set out to shore up voter numbers in Nyanza and Western

WESTERN
By Standard Team | September 22nd 2021

An IEBC official checks a national identification card with a KIEMS machine to verify the voter's registration at a polling station in Nyeri county during the August 8, election. [David Gichuru,Standard]

Leaders in Nyanza and Western are working to ensure that residents come out to register as voters and cast the ballot in next year's General Election.

Kisii Governor James Ongwa said they will ensure residents participate in mass registration and vote in the elections. “We need to stop loitering around during the voting day. This is our time to clinch the top seat,” he said.

Last week while on a development tour of Kisii and Nyamira counties, Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang'i urged residents to register as voters in their numbers.

Siaya Governor Cornel Rasanga,  East African Legislative Assembly MP Oburu Odinga, Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi and Kenya National Focal Point on Small Arms and Light Weapons Deputy Director Charles Owino said it is important to focus on ID and voter registration ahead of the elections.

“We have to enlist as voters in large numbers. We also have to encourage people to register for identification cards. They are the shield that we will go to elections with,” said Oburu.

While Rasanga promised to reward new voters with a bag of flour, Wandayi urged leaders to mobilise residents to register.

Amani National Congress leader Musalia Mudavadi has been leading the voter registration drive in western Kenya. Others are Devolution Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa, former UNCTAD Secretary General Mukhisa Kituyi and governors Wycliffe Oparanya (Kakamega), Sospeter Ojamoong (Busia) and Wycliffe Wangamati (Bungoma).

Ease registration

Mudavadi has also been pushing the government to ease registration for National Identity cards to enable the youth to enlist as voters.

Dr Kituyi appealed to youths to take active roles in shaping the politics of the country through the ballot in 2022.

“No country can change its political history without involving the youth. Younger people must come out to be players and not spectators in the national liberation of our country. I did it at their age as a university student,” he said.

Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang’ula said the region’s quest to produce a president will depend on the number of registered voters.

“Our people ought to register as voters so that we can realise the dream of our region producing the next president,” said the Ford Kenya leader. Oparanya warned that Western risks being a 'laughing stock' if residents fail to register in large numbers.

“We are number two in population but that alone cannot guarantee the region a place in the next government. We must ensure our people register as voters."

Central Organization of Trade Unions Secretary General Francis Atwoli said that MPs and MCAs in Western will be feted if they ensure residents register in large numbers.

“The top 10 MPs and 20 MCAs who manage to register 100 per cent new voters in the areas they represent will be supported by the committee,” he said.

Eric Abuga, Olivia Odhiambo and Benard Lusige. [email protected]

 

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