IEBC’s voter registration effort derailed by voter apathy

IEBC voter registration centre

IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati had set a weekly target of one million voter registration mainly targeting the youth who have turned 18 years and above. The disappointing turnout has been blamed on voter apathy by millions of youths disillusioned by failed electoral pledges

By The Weekly Vision Online

The Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) faces the horn of a dilemma as it seeks to register eight million first time voters. The mass registration exercise which kicked off a week ago has fallen far short of expected numbers, enrolling a paltry 200,000 countrywide so far.

IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati had set a weekly target of one million voter registration mainly targeting the youth who have turned 18 years and above. The disappointing turnout has been blamed on voter apathy by millions of youths disillusioned by failed electoral pledges.

Alarm bells have been sounded especially in the vote-rich Mount Kenya region which has recorded the lowest turn-out despite potentially having more voters than any other region in Kenya.

Voter apathy is driven by many frustrated young people who say the rising cost of living especially the hiking of fuel prices four times this year alone. Millions of struggling Kenyans not sure of their next meal are dismissing 2022 hopefuls and their “bagful of lies” saying the state had failed to fight corruption or create jobs

Presidential front runners aware of the ticking clock and poor turnout of potential supporters have hit the ground running, trying to convince the youths to register as voters. Voter apathy is driven by many frustrated young people who say the rising cost of living especially the hiking of fuel prices four times this year alone. Millions of struggling Kenyans not sure of their next meal are dismissing 2022 hopefuls and their “bagful of lies” saying the state had failed to fight corruption or create jobs.

Deputy President William Ruto and ODM leader Raila Odinga both eying the vast Mount Kenya vote are alarmed at unfolding developments. Many disgruntled youths who spoke to The Weekly Vision Online said elections in Kenya had become a vehicle for a “few” to enrich themselves at the expense of poor voters.

Some of the youths have vowed to neither register nor take part in next year’s elections saying those holding meetings in five-star hotels and bragging of being regional kingpins should go ahead and vote!

The youth who are likely to be voting for the first time in next year’s elections will virtually decide Kenya’s next president and it appears Ruto’s Hustler “bandwagon” has still got a lot of work to do!

Raila Odinga pledge of “free” Ksh. 6,000 each month to poor Kenyans have been dismissed as “pure fiction” as it’s not attainable. In any case, many wonders have both Odinga and Ruto just woken up to realize that there is mama mboga, mkokoteni pushers and maize roasters?

With less than a year to the elections, IEBC is walking a tight rope not helped by a huge operational cost deficit of Ksh. 14.5 billion. The problem may well be that even with enough resources IEBC could still fail in its mission if nothing is done to redress the deeply entrenched voter apathy among Kenya’s many young voters.

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