Kenya has started registering voters ahead of the country’s general elections due in August this year. The commission is targeting to add 6 million new voters to the voters’ roll.

On the first day of the 30 day mass voter listing process, the queues were short, the process slow but moving. This is the last voter registration process before the polls.

“We are therefore targeting to register persons who have never registered as voters as anytime between 2012 and 2016, and persons who have attained voting age and acquired a national identity card,” says Electoral Commission Chief Executive Officer, Ezra Chiloba.

The commission says it has distributed more than 7 000 biometric voter registration kits for the exercise…

The presidential race is seen as a two horse race between a united opposition led by former Prime Minister Raila Odinga and the Jubilee Party led by incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta.

With the stakes so high, each side is betting on a high number of eligible voters turning out to register and eventually voting for them.

“So that we make sure that the transformation of Kenya continues and is completed, the next one month is going to be very important for all of us,” says Deputy President William Ruto.

Opposition leader Raila Odinga has urged Kenyans to register to vote.

“You must all go out to every town, village, church and ensure everyone is a registered voter to send a mass message that jubilee must go home.”

The commission says it has distributed more than 7 000 biometric voter registration kits for the exercise. Most of those who turned out on the first day are first time voters.

“I am living here, I need to have a say in the country and its future,” says one of the voters Leila Ngumi.

Another voter Aggrey Vananga says; “from now this is our day, if you do not vote, never complain.”

Once the registration process is complete, the commission will begin the process of cleaning the register and expunging the names of “dead” voters.

The electoral commission estimates that there are nine million eligible voters, out of this, the commission is targeting to register 6millionof them, this will bring the total number of registered voters in Kenya to 22 million.

– By Sarah Kimani