Lobby to conduct voter education in Kisumu County

Kisumu, civic education

Sammy Oduor, an aspirant from Nyalenda B ward in Kisumu County participates in a debate that brought together 10 aspirants vying for the seat on March 15, 2022.

Photo credit: Tonny Omondi | Nation Media Group

A non-governmental organisation in Kisumu has organised debates for the county’s 35 wards ahead of the August 9, 2022 General Election.

The initiative by 2x Empower has identified county assemblies as the most critical structures of government which play key roles in the successes or failure of devolution.

According to Mr Jared Oriadha, lack of information on the role of county assemblies among electorates has led to the absence of accountability among leaders.

“We are doing the 10th year of devolution but there is still very little to show for the billions of exchequer funds channelled to counties,” he said on Tuesday during the launch of the debate at Nyalenda B Ward of Kisumu Central Constituency.

Given that the county assemblies are where policies and pieces of legislation are formulated, he stressed the need to elect right individuals in leadership positions.  

He said voters often vote for individuals they have no background information about because of party politics or euphoria.

The project by 2X Empower has also incorporated religious leaders and the civil society. 

Hall meetings 

“We intend to create safe spaces for electorates through town hall meetings where they will engage with their leaders and eventually make informed choices at the ballot,” said Mr Oriadha.

Through the engagements, Reverend Bethwel Rogo of Anglican Church of Kenya said the platform will enable the electorates to engage with aspirants and interrogate their campaign manifestos ahead of the polls.

“County governments have made efforts to initiate the public participation forums in line with the constitutional requirement as stipulated in the County Government Act of 2012 to enable voters have a say in the development programmes.

“But this can only be made better by electing the right leader which this particular project strives to achieve,” he said.

2X Empower will also conduct voter education to equip the voter with knowledge on the basic tenets of leadership.

“We are hopeful that upon the closure of this project, electorates shall be in a better place to make right choices at the ballot,” added Mr Oriadha.

The forum will provide a platform for a total of 620 aspirants who have so far expressed their interest to contest in various seats from the six constituencies of Kisumu Central, Kisumu East, Kisumu West, Seme, Nyakach, Nyando and Muhoroni.