By Stan Oyunga (stanoyunga@yahoo.com)


Now that the 2012 voter registration exercise is over, the Independent Electoral Boundaries Commission missed its original target of 18 million registered voters by about 2.7 million, according to its provisional figures at close of the exercise on 18th December, 2012.

The IEBC may have actually over targeted the number of Kenya’s voting population by over one million; hence it should be closer to 17 million.

According to the 2009 population census, Kenya had 38, 610,097 people out of which 19,443,397 (50%) were adults (aged 18 or above) and 388, 985 were non-Kenyans. Since non-Kenyans are not permitted to vote (about 200,000 adults), the voting population would be about 19.2 million in 2009.

Since there were 2,564,249 persons aged 15 to 17 in 2009, they would have turned 18 by December, 2012 hence would increase the voting population to about 22 million (see Table 1).

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Due several factors, including mortality rate, lack of Kenya identity cards or general apathy, the average percentage of the adult population who register to vote is 40 % or about 80 % of the population (see table 4A). In 1969, 39 % (4.2 million) of the Kenya population of 10.9 million were registered. In 1992, 37 % (7.8 million) of the population of 21.4 million were registered.

In 2007, Kenya’s population was projected at 34.6 million out of which 14.2 million (41 %) were registered as voters, but number fell to only 12.5 million (32 %) in 2010 during the referendum.

Hence if the IEBC had looked at past voter registration data, they would have targeted about 17 million voters (about 80 % of projected adult population of 22 million in 2012).

Another factor is that during the 2009 census, results in some districts in North Eastern Province were discredited by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) as unrealistic.

An attempt to repeat the census in these districts was stopped by the High Court, so the census results were used by the IEBC to set the new constituency boundaries.

The population of North Eastern Province has grown by 240 % in only ten years from 962,143 in 1999 to 2,310,757 in 2009. But the population of Mandera County grew by 400 % from 250,372 in 1999 to 1,025,756 in 2009. (See Tables 2-2 ) .

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(Table 2-3)

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As a result, Mandera South constituency (no 042) is now Kenya’s most populous constituency with population of 247,619, replacing Embakasi which has been split in to five constituencies.

Before Mandera South was created in 2012 it was part of the old Mandera Central (old no 39) which had a population of 94,120 in 1999. In 2012 it was split into two-Mandera South (no 042) and Mandera North (no 041), the latter with population of 169,675.

Hence the combined total population of both constituencies is 417,294, from only 94,120 in 1999, hence a growth of 500 % in only ten years. (See Table 2-4).

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The IEBC gave Mandera South a target of 115,440, the highest in the country, but by the end of the voter registration on 18th December, 2012, only 10,600 (8 %) had been registered, begging the question-why would the most populous constituency in the country have the lowest number of registered voters in 2012?