By Judith Gicobi
As voting day on August 9 approaches, official data reveals a decline in the number of young people registered to vote following the 2017 general election.
Youth registration under the age of 35 is currently at 39.84 percent, a decrease of 5.27 percent in 2022. This is so despite a more than 12% increase in the total number of voters.
The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission puts the blame for the dismal results on the nation’s economic woes and widespread corruption among elected officials.
According to data from the IEBC, 22.1 million Kenyans are registered to vote ahead of the election, up from 19.6 million five years ago.
Additionally, seventy-five percent of Kenya’s population is under the age of 35.
Joel Mwita, the chair of the IEBC Youth Coordinating Committee, discussed the barriers that prevent young people from engaging in the electoral process on Citizen TV on Saturday, July 9.
“There are several concerns affecting the appetite of youths in the election. There is the issue of the Identification Number, and again they are not happy with how leaders have performed previously, Civic and voter education done through the education cycle. These are factors that need to be considered,” Mwita stated.
The election official said that the main issue is a lack of identification cards, which every voter needs to bring with them on election day.
Despite the ministry of interior moving quickly to provide IDs, thousands of young people remain without the necessary papers.
Additionally, young people have expressed dissatisfaction with past performance of political officials. Due to the unfulfilled promises made by the exiting regime, many people feel duped.
Another issue is that a lot of the young people haven’t had access to enough civic education to understand why they should vote. Millions are lost in hope. They would refrain from voting because they do not believe that their vote matters.
Despite a decline in the number of young people registered to vote, the 38.94 percent of registered voters will be vital in choosing Kenya’s next leader on August 9 as leading candidates Raila Odinga and DP William Ruto rely on them to win.