Voter listing: IEBC targets university, college students

Wafula Chabukati

Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission Chairperson Wafula Chebukati speaking in Naivasha on January 7, 2022.

Photo credit: Francis Mureithi | Nation Media Group

The electoral agency is targeting university and college students in the final phase of “enhanced voter registration” that will run from January 17 to February 6.

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) wants to enlist about 4.5 million voters ahead of the August 9 General Election.

IEBC chairperson Wafula Chebukati said the agency will deploy more biometric voter registration kits at colleges and universities, which have more than 500,000 students.

"In this second phase of enhanced voter registration, IEBC has an elaborate plan to deploy more biometric voter registration kits in all the public and private universities and colleges across the country," he said.

Kenya has about 60 public and private universities and hundreds of technical colleges where thousands of students have not registered as voters.

Mass registration

The first phase of mass registration targeting six million voters began on October 4, 2021 and ended on November 5, 2021.

But only 1,519, 294 new voters were enlisted, with the majority of young people giving the listing a wide berth.

"I have met all the 47 county elections managers to evaluate how we did in the first phase and how we can improve on it. We realised the three kits per ward were fairly used. However, we need to send more BVR kits to colleges and universities," Mr Chebukati said.

He revealed that the BVR kits in more than 1,400 wards were adequately utilised. 

Final phase

The agency appealed to Kenyans to turn out in large numbers during the second and final phase of voter registration to ensure 4.5 million Kenyans are registered ahead of the polls.

The IEBC boss said the commission has a special unit called the elections security programme that is working closely with the National Police Service, National Cohesion and Integration Commission and other security agencies to prepare for the polls.

Mr Chebukati explained that preparations for the General Election will not be affected by the IEBC’s move to pull out of the government elections planning team.

"Our preparations for the General Election are on course and IEBC will play its constitutional role and I hope everybody will play their roles as per the law," he said.