IEBC ignores court order to extend voter registration exercise by a week

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Chairman Wafula Chebukati

IEBC has been running aggressive media campaigns targeted at young Kenyans to register

By The Weekly Vision Online

The chairman of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Wafula Chebukati is in the eye of a storm yet again after he rejected orders from the court to extend the registration exercise by one week.

He says the funds available to IEBC only allowed a one-month time frame that closed down on November 2 2021. He stressed that the commission has a budget deficit of Kshs 14.5 billion as the country heads into the 2022 elections. A court seating in Eldoret issued orders to the IEBC to extend the exercise by one week to allow the nearly 6 million first time voters to register. But millions of young Kenyans citing failed electoral promises have refused to register.

According to a petition filed by a voter under a certificate of emergency, an extension would see nearly 6 million voters change their minds and register! IEBC has been running aggressive media campaigns targeted at young Kenyans to register. At least 80 per cent of Kenya’s population is below 30; out of this 12 million are eligible voters who will largely decide the next president in 2022.

Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga has been featured in a radio commercial urging young Kenyans to register. Mr Odinga’s slogan “yote yawezekana na Kura” (Everything is possible with your vote) has not cut much ice!

Despite spending millions on publicity, IEBC has only managed to enrol 1.2 million out of the projected 4 million; this has alarmed top contenders for the 2022 poll. Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga has been featured in a radio commercial urging young Kenyans to register. Mr Odinga’s slogan “yote yawezekana na Kura” (Everything is possible with your vote) has not cut much ice! Nor has pleas by deputy president William Ruto dangling the “hustler gospel”.

The pleas by Raila-Ruto and ANC Musalia Mudavadi aka Macharia have failed to break the widespread voter registration apathy and mistrust for lofty promises towards the politicians.

Chebukati has shut down polling stations countrywide saying there is no money to pay clerks and foot operational costs. Voters have now been advised to go to IEBC constituency offices to register or regularize their voting cards. For now, at least the courts’ hands are tied! “You can take a horse to a river but you can’t force it to drink water!” said one anchor on a popular local radio station.

IEBC clerks have been camping for 31 days at polling stations where only a trickle of voters have turned up to register. It’s evident that if the apathy persists to polling day, then a “minority” government could be elected in office comes August 2022!

This would leave the regime open to adverse court litigation by Kenya’s never-say-die civil rights crusaders. Kenyan judges have proved their mettle to turn tables on the Executive when it counts! Like nullification of the 2017 election victory of President Uhuru Kenyatta, and twice throwing out the Uhuru-Raila backed BBI and the trashing the Hudumba number!

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