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Alarm as alcohol dens detain scores of Kirinyaga voters’ ID cards

Scores of residents who have been drinking on credit in Kirinyaga County may not register as voters because their identity cards have been withheld by bar owners.

The residents said some of their colleagues owe bar owners thousands of shillings and their IDS cannot be released.

“Usually the residents who do not have cash give out their IDs to the bar traders as security and continue drinking on credit. When they fail to pay the debt, their IDs are withheld,” said Mr Peter Kigondo.

Mr Kigondo said several of his colleagues at Nyamindi village who are habitual drinkers could not register as voters since they had not cleared beer debts.


“They have debts in bars and as such they can’t access IDs. They risk being locked out of 2017 polls,” said Mr Kigondo.

The voter registration clerks in the expansive Mwea constituency, however, said they had not received complaints from the bar patrons.

“Residents who frequent various bars have not lodged such complaints to us,” said one of the clerks who sought anonymity because she is not authorised to speak to the media.

The interior Principal Secretary Dr Karanja Kibicho said it was a criminal offence punishable by law to withhold IDs belonging to the residents.


“No one is allowed to keep IDs belonging to the residents for whatever reasons. Withholding IDs is tantamount to taking the law into the hands and those responsible will be dealt with severely,” he said.

Dr Kibicho told the residents whose IDs had been withheld to report to the police for action.

The PS said all residents had a right to register as voters and elect the leaders of their choice.

Dr Kibicho said 176,000 residents in the region were yet to register as voters.