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Political Rivalry, A Reason Derailing The Voter, ID Registration Exercise In Thika, Kiambu.

Thika West DCC Tom Anjere addressing participants in the voter registration exercise in Thika High School for The Blind.
Political competition and jostling for the various seats amongst rival players within Thika Constituency and Kiambu County in general may be a major reason slowing down voter registration, 12 days since the second phase of the voter registration kicked off in the country.

This transpired during a stakeholders’ meeting organised by Thika West Deputy County Commissioner Tom Anjere and the constituency IEBC Registration Officer Edwin Mwangi Kaburia with the aim of charting the way forward in optimising the results of this exercise. Several speakers noted that politicians in the region failed to read the people’s mood and went separate ways instead of shelving political differences for this common goal.

“Our politicians are jeopardising this whole by each going their separate ways due to personal ego a factor that is causing voter apathy. Some are personalising the exercise and using it to fight their opponents something that is discouraging those not willing to support them. This is not good for anyone and will definitely have a toll on the presidential vote,” said Nominated MCA Florence Njeri Ngeru (Flozie) who is aspiring for the Township Ward seat.

The MCA also pinpointed that some aspirants were transporting voters from other regions with an eye for the Jubilee Party nominations. Though voters were free to transfer their votes from one polling station to another, she warned of the danger posed if the candidates in question happened to lose in the primaries.

“If these candidates lose in the nominations, they are unlikely to transport the same people to the polling station come August. All these votes will be wasted as the ‘hired voters’ will not be willing to spend money on fare to come and vote in a ‘foreign’ land,” she said.

Responding to the concerns of the participants, Anjere said that security for everyone will be paramount. He said that his administration will take very stern measures and actually arrest any politician found inciting people or sabotaging peace and tranquility.

In order to meet the sub-county target, the DCC said that they will use elders, members of the community policing and Nyumba Kumi Initiative, the clergy, the business community, trade unionists, bodaboda and group leaders of various associations, ensuring that they did a door to door campaign. There are also plans to begin mobile voter registration points that will target work stations, learning institutions and religious gatherings.

“Our target for this sub-county is about 53,000 new voters and other than the strategies that I have just mentioned, we intend also to use elders and the clergy in identifying the owners of the more than 2,500 ID cards still lying at Huduma Centre. Majority of these people are not from Thika and we are going to employ the services of the NYS and more clerks to ensure that they all get to their owners. The centre itself, the IEBC offices and the chiefs will be operating from between 7am and 6pm in order to serve as many people as possible,” said the DCC.

The IEBC Registration Officer lamented that the exercise had taken off on a slow start thus appealed to the people to come out in large numbers especially those who missed out on the 2013 registration.

“We have only done about 50% of our target. We are currently targeting the youth especially those who were not yet registered by 2013. Transfers of polling stations will only be done from our office and at the Huduma centre so as to avoid congestion in the registration centres and enable us serve more people faster,” said Kaburia.

He noted that the highest workload they faced was in the transfer of voters from one polling station to another something he termed as alarming and needed civic education. He added that the slip they issued after registration was just to acknowledge one’s registration as the ID or a passport would be the documents to use during the actual voting.

Hospital Ward MCA Mwangi Wamwangi and Thika KNUT Executive Secretary Joe Mungai Ngige promised to mobilise the youth and teachers respectively in making the exercise a success.

Others leaders present included the Huduma Centre Manager Josephine Mwengi, aspirants for various political seats, the clergy, business and other community leaders.

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