The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has delayed voters registration in diaspora due COVID-19.
The commission’s chairman Wafula Chebukati in a statement highlighted the exercise which kicked off last week was delayed to the COVID-19 travel restrictions currently in place within the three countries.
“The exercise will be extended by the number of days lost to ensure that eligible voters avail the set 15 days for registration,” Chebukati stated.
He pointed out that IEBC was working closely with the relevant authorities to ensure it kicks off.
“However, due to COVID -19 related travel restrictions and logistical challenges, the scheduled voter registration exercise will not commence as scheduled in the six centers,” said Chebukati.
The affected countries include the United Kingdom (Kenya High Commission in London, Canada (Kenya High Commission in Ottawa, Kenya Honorary Consulate in Toronto and Kenya Honorary Consulate in Vancouver) and United Arab Emirates (Kenya Embassy in United Arab Emirates and Kenya Consulate in Dubai).
However, the voter registration exercise was seamlessly carried out in the United States of America, Canada, United Kingdom, Germany, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, South Sudan, Burundi, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and South Africa.
The second round was launched on January 17 and will run until February 6. Although it had ruled out a second round of voter registration, IEBC decided to do so after receiving money from the Treasury for the exercise.
The first round, which ran from October 4 to November 2, 2021, only registered 760,000 out of a target of 4.5 million eligible voters. This was only a 17 per cent success rate.
The electoral body also deployed more kits to learning institutions and at least three Biometric Voter Registration kits per ward to hit the target to allow a seamless process.
Chebukati said they will go out of their way to ensure at least 25 million voters participate in the August 9 polls.
Additionally, he announced that they will allow Kenyans who want to transfer polling stations or change their particulars to do so during the period.
The commission failed to reach the six million target during the first phase of the exercise last year only 1.52 million eligible Kenyans registered as new voters.
Apathy and lack of national identity (ID) cards, especially among the youths and poor civic education were blamed for the low turnout.
The national polls agency also sought for more budgetary allocation of Sh42.7 million per day on any additional voter registration day.
According to the commission the ECVR exercise cost the country Sh1.282 billion (an average of Sh42.7 million per day) for the 30 days in form of wages to temporary registration officials, logistics, and direct expenses to the third-party service providers.
Low turnout can essentially be attributed to the poor delivery by politicians, at this point the youth of this country are tired of the empty promises yet no legit impact has been seen.