Reports from yesterday’s by-elections indicate that there were only 8 women in a field of 100 candidates from 28 of the 101 registered political parties. Reports of bribery and voter registration were also alleged to have taken place (we may never know if this was true).
The worrying trend, I observe is with the number of women participating in leadership contest and also the low numbers recorded in most wards and constituencies. It is estimated that only slightly above 25% of the about 43,000 registered voters voted in the Magarini by-election. I think even before ECK thinks of holding another voter registration exercise in June/July, civic education is a vital venture that even all leaders and the government must undertake. Before the Civil society continues fighting with uncle moody over the constitution, I believe they need to venture into voter and civic education. Otherwise we will have half the number of registered voter voting in December and a half of those who vote selling their votes.
Going back to voter registration, I must have shared with here or in another forum that, a survey carried at one of the local universities indicate that 30% of those in that university were unregistered voters. Here we are talking of people between the ages of 18 years and 25 years. I think it will only be fair for the government to provide first national IDs to this and other youths and then provide the funds for another voter registration exercise. I should also mention that most of the unregistered youths are the ladies, again according to that poll.
As those aspiring for leadership positions continue to campaign aggressive, I think they also need to take up the role of educating the masses on voting and exercising that right fairly. Otherwise they will have house full rallies filled with non-voters or people who do not talk a lot but will not act in December.