The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has warned politicians against threatening Kenyans to register as voters in the ongoing voter registration exercise.
This is after a section of politicians were quoted pressuring Kenyans to register as voters otherwise they would not be able to receive government services in their areas.
IEBC vice chair Juliana Cherera said the constitution allows all Kenyans to vote voluntarily, adding that leaders who force citizens to register as voters will be subject to severe legal action if found.
“In our Kenyan law, registering as a voter is voluntary, and therefore denying Kenyans to receive government services because they are not voters is illegal,” Cherera said.
Last week, South Mugirango Member of Parliament Sylvanus Osoro called on his constituents to register as voters or miss a chance to get bursaries.
The legislator said parents who would not have registered as voters would be denied a chance to benefit from the bursaries under the Constituency Development Fund (CDF).
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“In one month’s time, we will be announcing bursaries. Applications will be done using your voter’s card and not your national identification card,” he stated.
Ganze MP Teddy Mwambire last weekend followed suit, saying youths who would not register as voters would not benefit from bursaries through his office.
“Many essential services are available to those who have registered as voters. Supporting studies for our youths through CDF is usually for the persons, who have registered as a voter,
“So if you do not register as a voter, you will not receive these services,” he said.
On Monday, October 11, IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati disclosed to the public how the commission had failed to meet its voter registration target a week into the exercise.
Chebukati revealed that the electoral commission has only registered about 202,518 new voters out of the weekly target of 1,500,000 since the exercise began on October 4.