Only 760,000 Kenyans have registered as new voters against a target of 4.5 million by this week, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) chairman Wafula Chebukati has revealed.
He said the agency is concerned about the low voter registration trend as the mass listing drive is planned to end on Tuesday, November 2.
“A report will be going out soon for all the counties, but we have only done 760,000 plus, out of an expected 4.5 million. It is a very low turnout; I know Kenyans will wait until the last minute to come out. Last minute is now because we are closing on November 2,” he said.
He revealed this at a meeting in Nairobi of senior officials from the Judiciary, Ministry of Interior, IEBC and the National Cohesion and Integration Commission to discuss the country’s state of election preparedness.
“My appeal to Kenyans is to come out in large numbers and register because this is the only chance where the commission will be coming near you,” Mr Chebukati said.
Despite the low turnout, the IEBC boss assured Kenyans that the next General Election would be free, fair and credible as they are working with the other agencies to ensure everything is in place for the 2022 polls.
“IEBC as a commission is in charge of elections and referendums. That is what the Constitution says and we are an independent commission, but each of these agencies here have something to do with elections within their mandate and we will work together to be able to deliver to Kenyans free and fair elections,” he said.
Voter registration apathy is a growing concern, with key politicians eyeing political seats campaigning across the country and urging the masses, mostly young people, to register and take part in the next polls.
IEBC is now in a tight spot as it seeks to push up the numbers of new registered voters.
The agency had targeted at least six million new voters, but an analysis of the number of eligible voters as shown by the latest population data - unregistered ones and young people who have attained voting age - shows a figure of about nine million potential new voters.