CONCERN OVER LOW VOTER REGISTRATION IN MARSABIT, ISIOLO COUNTIES:
Via Vivian Jebet (Daily Nation)
Only 1,150 people have registered as voters in Isiolo and Marsabit counties since April last year.
Upper Eastern Region election coordinator Mohammed Liban said lack of national identification cards (IDs) in the counties is affecting voter registration.
Speaking at a consultative forum in Isiolo on Wednesday, Mr Liban said the lack of IDs was slowing down efforts by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to register more voters.
In Isiolo North and Isiolo South constituencies, only 359 and 275 voters had registered by December 31 last year.
Mr Liban also added that the commission aims to register more than 40,000 voters from the region between February 15 to March. More than 18,000 voters in Isiolo and 22,000 in Marsabit counties are set to be registered.
The IEBC has started its preparation for mass voter registration by mobilising persons 18 years old and over.
“ID cards have been a concern among the participants, but we are engaging stakeholders and local leaders to address the matter since it has affected the turnout of voters,” said the coordinator.
In Isiolo, the number of voters who have transferred within or outside their polling stations is more than 500. The commission is said to be targeting 18 million eligible voters for the 2017 polls but currently only 180,000 new ones have been listed.
Participants at the forum complained about delays in issuing IDs and a poor vetting system in the two counties conducted by the registration of persons department in conjunction with the national administration.
NO ID CARDS
Borana Council of Elders vice-chairman Boru Dika said for the past two years, youths in the counties were not getting ID cards and hence cannot register as voters.
The participants urged the county government and the Constituency Development Fund to intervene and enable registration officers to vet potential voters at least twice a week to reduce the backlog.
Mr Dika said the slow registration in the region is due to logistical issues and underfunding by the government.
He also attributed delays in registration to the lack of enough biometric voter registration (BVR) kits in wards and the vastness of the areas in the Upper Eastern region compared with the 17 other regions countrywide.
“The nomadic lifestyle, insecurity and low literacy levels among residents from the region is also contributing to low voter registration,” he added. Mr Liban urged the government to add more BVR kits and offer more logistical support to ease the registration process.