Pokot pastoralists are reluctant to register as voters fearing that Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) machines will detect those keeping illegal guns.
Independent Electoral and Boundary Commission Kapenguria Constituency co-coordinator Paul Chemuttut said they have stepped up sensitization campaigns to educate the masses. “There is fear that BVR machines detect those with illegal guns. People also fear that having their finger prints taken will cause cancer,” said Chemuttut. In Kapenguria, only 25,000 people out of 60,000 have registered. Several herders, particularly those living along Kenya-Uganda border, own guns to protect themselves from external attacks.
The co-coordinator also blamed lack of enough BVR kits in the county for low registration, saying one kit serves up to four stations. The bad terrain, he added, is also not favorable to officials conducting and the exercise.
Chemuttut also cited high illiteracy levels and ignorance as other challenges facing the registration exercise. In Trans-Nzoia County, out of 200,000 people targeted, 116,000 have registered. Residents from most areas that were hit by post-election violence are reluctant to take part in the exercise due to fear of skirmishes.
Kitale Catholic Justice and Peace Commission programme director Leonard Baraza said some people have moved out of their homes. Saboti Constituency has registered 24,224 voters, Kiminini 27,800, Kwanza 21,850, Cherangany 28,177 and Endebess 14,140.