If Raila Odinga’s Nyanza backyard fails to achieve its voter registration goals, he says he’ll drop out of the presidential race.
He is worried that people in his strongholds will not be able to vote because of low voter registration. This year, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) is holding a second voter registration drive.
Last year, the commission failed to reach its target because of factors like lack of voter education. It registered 34, 203 new voters in Homa Bay against a target of over 100,000. Other counties in Nyanza had targets of nearly 100,000 but got less than half the number.
In Kisumu, 44,666 new voters were listed, Migori had 39,983, while Siaya had 31, 335.
In the current drive, the IEBC targets 112,000 new voters in Homa Bay, with other Nyanza counties’ targets in the neighbourhood of that number.
However, Mr Odinga cautioned that the commission may once again miss its target.
“I have observed IEBC clerks just seated with no one to register. This is making me think that my supporters do not want to register,” he said.
Speaking in Homa Bay town yesterday after commissioning a Sh1.6 billion Belgium-funded water project, Mr Odinga told his supporters that he might decide to quit the race should he not get enough support.
“My rivals are having their people register as voters in large numbers because they have taken the presidential race in 2022 seriously. When I walk out there I am embarrassed because of the manner in which you are not taking this matter seriously.
“Do you want me to quit the race? If you do not register in numbers, then I do not see the reason why I should contest. We have to take this matter seriously and register,” he said.Earlier this fall, Orange Party leader Raila Odinga said the number of new voters would determine whether he runs for president.
Yesterday, he was worried that his support wouldn’t be strong enough, and gave an example from Kisumu County, which had only registered 3,000 new voters since Monday. He also said that, in Homa Bay, the commission had registered only 1,000 new voters by Wednesday.
He urged the youth and unregistered Kenyans to get ready for the August 9 polls, saying he will complete projects started by President Uhuru Kenyatta if elected. “I want many people to register as voters. Any youth who shall not have registered yet he or she is of age, should be denied food at home,” said Mr Odinga