Raila political strongholds leads in IDs registration
Statistics from the National Registration Bureau indicate that Raila’s political bedrocks of Nyanza and Western have 304,965 and 285,582 new IDs, respectively. Cord strategists are keen to reverse President Uhuru Kenyatta’s ‘tyranny of numbers’ 2013 factor and turn the tables on the ruling Jubilee alliance.
The South Rift, in Deputy President William Ruto’s grip as a vote bloc in 2013, comes third, with 276,825 new ID cards. In Kenya, prospective voters must present an ID card or a valid passport to be registered to vote.
According to the statistics exclusively obtained by the Star, President Kenyatta’s Central backyard comes a distant fourth, with only 222,683 new ID cards.
At the Coast, a total of 215,912 IDs have been issued in the region’s six counties, while on former Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka’s Ukambani political turf, 190,129 IDs have been issued. In the North Rift, the NRB has issued 183,592 IDs, Upper Eastern 147,995 and in Nairobi 126,340.
The Northeastern region – Garissa, Mandera and Wajir – has performed poorest, with only 28,614 new IDs issued. In a candid interview, NRB Principal Registration Officer Leonard Nang’ole termed the issuance of IDs fair, dismissing speculation that the process was skewed in favour of Jubilee strongholds.
“There is a very fair distribution,” Nang’ole told the Star at the bureau’s NSSF offices in Nairobi. “If you look at the patterns they are not different from the population in those areas. All areas are doing very well.”
Last week, the IEBC entered into a deal with the NRB to ensure that those who acquire IDs register as voters. “A consultative meeting between the two institutions agreed to form an interagency committee to campaign for people to register for IDs and collect them when they are ready,” the IEBC said in a statement.
Nang’ole said approximately 22.5 million Kenyans hold IDs. This means that an additional 8.2 million Kenyans could vote in the 2017 presidential polls, a completely different political scenario for leading presidential contenders.
Only 14.3 million Kenyans were registered as voters in 2013 when Candidate Uhuru was announced as having won on the strength of voter registration and turnout in his strongholds. Raila, who is laying the groundwork for what is expected to be a do-or-die final bid for the presidency, is already mobilising his support base for a huge voter registration.
The new statistics show that the drive, dubbed “Tokelezea ID” and spearheaded by ODM leaders, could be bearing fruit.
Low voter registration was blamed for Raila’s loss at the last election. In their vote drive, allies of the former Prime Minister have called on their supporters to deny their spouses without ID and voter’s cards conjugal rights. Nang’ole said that that the NRB have resumed full production of IDs after what he termed a “small delay” in the procurement of photo-printing paper.
The NRB said that they are ready to address specific complaints from leaders and politicians. “We encourage members of the public and even our politicians not to just complain but apply for IDs. In case of any problem, we want the complaint to be very specific.
If it’s the issue of delays, give us the serial numbers; if it’s the issue of failure by our teams to cover your area, tell us so that we send a team,” Nang’ole said.