Politicians Gift Youth Bar Soaps, Bursaries to Register as Voters

ODM leader Raila Odinga on a voter registration campaign in Kamukunji, Nairobi on October 13, 2021
ODM leader Raila Odinga on a voter registration campaign in Kamukunji, Nairobi on October 13, 2021
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As the Independent Election and Boundary Commission (IEBC) enters the homestretch of the mass voter registration scheduled to end on November 4, concerns over low turnout have been rife

All regions in the country have recorded relatively low numbers of new voters despite the commission mobilising all the necessary resources to ensure the success of the exercise.

With nine days to the closure of the registration exercise, data from IEBC shows that the commission has only managed to list 17.8 per cent of the original target, a number representing a paltry 800,462 new voters against the target of 4.5 million.

Undated image of a Kenyan During a Past IEBC Voter Registration Exercise
A file image of someone registering as a voter in a past exercise.

The IEBC listed the youths who account as the majority voters as the main target population of the yet to be concluded exercise. 

The youths have, however, failed to heed the call of the commission and politicians, with most of them failing to register as voters.

In a move to curb the low registration turnout, several politicians have invented creative strategies in an attempt to woo the youths to register as voters. 

Politicians have now turned to conditional issuance of bursaries and provision of goodies to marshal high numbers.

Speaking at a function, Siaya County Governor Cornel Rasanga stated the county government would provide free bar soaps to people who register as voters.

Rasanga lamented that despite the region being known for having politically active residents, few turn to register as voters and turn up to vote.

The Ikolomani Member of Parliament, Bernard Shinali, insisted that students in institutions of higher learning in his constituency must produce their voter's cards in order to be awarded bursaries.

"Those who will not register and produce their voter’s card, including college students, will not be given bursary funds,” he stated.

Siaya County Governor Cornel Rasanga Amoth during a public address on November 22, 2013
The Standard