The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) on Monday rolled out a voter registration drive targeting between between six and seven million new voters ahead of 2022 general elections.
In the first phase covering 30 days, the electoral body targets to register at least 4 million of the new voters, with another exercise set for January next year if the target is not met.
IEBC aims at increasing the number of registered voters from the current 19.6 million to 26.9 million, that is if it meets its 7.2 million new voter target.
Despite the commission lamenting over the shortage of the biometric voter registration kits required for the exercise, it has deployed at least 3 kits to each of the 1,450 wards to facilitate the exercise.
Kieni MP Kanini Kega, who is the Chairman of the National Assembly’s Budget Committee, said; “IEBC tumewapa hela ya kutosha ili wasajili wapya wale ambao wamepata vitambulisho, na pia wale ambao wako na vitambulisho na hawajawai jisajili kuwa wapiga kura.”
“I ask political parties to ensure that their members who are not registered voters, to reach out to them and encourage them to come and register,” said IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati.
In the Rift Valley region, which has the highest number of counties, IEBC is targeting 1,069, 842 eligible voters.
In Mt. Kenya, which has in recent weeks been a hot bed of political activity, IEBC is aiming at registering 670,297 new voters, and another 648, 752 new voters in the Eastern part of the country.
In Nyanza, the commission targets 619, 152 new voters while in Western Kenya it will be eyeing 443, 671 eligible voters.
In the Coast region’s 6 counties, IEBC will be hoping to register 395, 324 new voters cumulatively; in the capital city Nairobi, some 517, 238 new voters will be enlisted.
In the Northern part of the country, a paltry 147, 685 new voters have been targeted.
The commission will in December this year carry out voter registration for the diaspora where 6 new countries have been added after meeting the minimum requirement of 3,000 voters; Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi and South Africa participated in the 2017 General Elections.
Aware that first time voters are a critical constituency that can easily tilt the scale in the presidential vote, aspirants seeking to replace President Uhuru Kenyatta after the expiry of his term have been hard at work dangling youth friendly ideas to woo the voting bloc which accounts for more than half of the population.
The commission will also be carrying out an audit of the current register to weed out ghost voters and those that have passed away.
A new voter register to be used in the 2017 election is expected to have been gazetted by May 2, 2022