Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) is deliberating on the possible extension of the mass voter registration exercise to give a chance to more people to get registered as voters especially the youth at institutions of higher learning who are the majority.
Addressing the Press at Kabianga University’s main campus in Kericho County, IEBC Commissioner Francis Wanderi noted that during his tour to the Rift Valley to inspect the ongoing mass voter registration drive, students had started streaming in at the registration centres in their campuses to register.
Mr Wanderi pointed out that due to the high number of students showing up to get registered as voters there is need for extension of the exercise at institutions of higher learning explaining that a majority of them had not received their Identity Cards.
“We cannot conclude that there is voter registration apathy among students. I was at Moi University and over a thousand of them got registered in a day. So, let’s be patient with our young people and give them a chance to get registered once they receive their ID cards,” stressed Mr Wanderi.
Mr Wanderi promised to have a sitting with the IEBC chair Wafula Chebukati and the other Commissioners to chat the way forward on how to get more funding for the extension of the exercise, adding that the commission aims to register all who received their IDs after 2017.
“I urge all stakeholders including the national and county governments, religious leaders, and civil society to be proactive in conducting civic education to our young people, so that their attitude change and get to understand the importance of participating in this crucial electoral process,” said Wanderi.
The commissioner further said that the commission is working closely with the registrar of persons to facilitate quick issuance of Identity Cards to applicants, in order for them to get registered as soon as they receive their IDs.
“Even if students register as voters from their respective campuses, they will be able to vote from their home areas during elections since their details will be transferred to their preferred polling stations,” added Mr Wanderi.
The IEBC commissioner in his tour to inspect the ongoing mass voter registration drive at centres within Kericho County was accompanied by the Kericho County IEBC Elections Manager Joseph Ayatta who said that over 24,000 new voters had been registered in the County which is an average of 28 percent.
Mr Ayatta also said that Bureti, Belgut, and Ainamoi Sub-counties are currently leading in terms of numbers of newly registered voters with Kipkelion East and Kipkelion West having the least number of people registered.