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Kenyans registered 56 per cent voter turnout as at 4pm, IEBC says

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has said 12.065 million Kenyans had voted by 4pm on Tuesday, one hour before the official polling stations closing time of 5pm.

According to IEBC, the figure, which represents 56.17 per cent voter turnout, excludes the number of voters identified through the manual register and those who were still on queues as at 4pm.

In Nyeri County, turnout could be the lowest compared with the past two elections.

IEBC Commissioner Francis Wanderi put the number at around noon at between 16 percent and 30 percent, describing it as “very poor”.

The county has 965 polling centres spread across its six constituencies, with a total of 481,632 registered voters.

Mr Wanderi noted that in the random tours he made to polling centres, he found Muringato and Nyeri health centres as the only areas where turnout had hit 50 percent.

The bad weather was blamed for confining many to their houses, but turnout did not change much after conditions improved in the afternoon.

Many young people in Mt Kenya kept away from voting, some opting to hide in bars, drinking.

While in the 2007, 2013 and 2017 elections police ordered area bars and hotels closed to help candidates push up turnout, this year, there were no such restrictions.

“We are not interested in ordering businesses closed. It is not a must that people vote. The law does not give us a reason to force people to vote,” said a senior security officer on the Central Region Security Committee.

In past elections that had Mt Kenya presidential contenders as front-runners, security personnel were mobilised to force people to first vote before they could go to bars.

In parts of Murang’a, Nation.Africa witnessed scores of youths holed up in bars since the morning, pretending that they had voted by marking the nail of their little finger with mark pens.