By Hillary Ang’awa (hillaryangawa@gmail.com)

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) is lamenting the poor response to its Voter Registration exercise from 15th February to 15th March, 2016. By end of the exercise only 1,428,056 voters has been registered out of a target of 4 million (34%). Out of this number, 493,169 were already registered voters transferring voting centers. This means only 934,887 new voters.

Only seven (7) counties managed to get 50% and above of their set targets. These are: Kajiado, Marsabit, Tana-River, Narok, Migori, Kiambu and Siaya. Further, five (5) other counties namely: Elegeyo-Marakwet, Taita Taveta, Embu, Kilifi, and Vihiga obtained less than 25% of their set targets.
The IEBC is blaming politicians for not doing enough to recruit the very voters they will need to win both the primary and General Elections in 2017. Despite pleas by the coalition and party leaders, why is there such a poor response to voter registration so far? Even the last minute surge (a supposedly Kenyan habit) did not occur this time.
Since this was a mass voter registration targeting new voters and those who wished to change their polling stations and Ward/Constituency, and another one is to be undertaken in February, 2017, there was no urgency and IEBC can expect to net no more than 5 million out of its target of 8 million, by the August, 2017 elections.
In order to find out the approximate number of youth potential voters (first time voters) and in which county they live, the Kenya Election Database looked at Kenya’s demographic data. According to the 2009 population census, there were 4.6 million Kenyans who were aged 11 to 15 in August, 2009 and would reach the age of 19 to 23 by 2017, hence would be able to register as voters. This age group would have been only 14 to 18 years of age in 2012, hence most were too young to register by December, 2012. Since the IEBC does not give the voter’s age when registering Kenyans, it not possible to know the exact number from this age group who may been registered in the mass Voter Registration in February and March, 2016 (they would have been aged 18 to 22 in 2016), as per table below:-

[table id=58 /]

Thus the total potential voters in the 11 to 15 age group in 2009 (who will be 19 to 23 years of age in 2017) will be 4,696,087 but due to mortality and other factors the number may reduce to 3.7 million (80%). The 2009 Population census not only captured the age but also the gender, county and type of area (rural or urban), hence it was possible for the first time to report the number of youth potential voters using the above parameters.
Out of the 4.6 million youth potential voters who will be aged 19 to 23 years in 2017, 2.38 million are male and 2.30 million female, hence gender ratio of 50:50. The number of this age group who live in urban areas is 1.2 million and those in rural areas is 3.4 million. Note that Nairobi and Mombasa counties do not have rural areas.

[table id=59 /]

In order to establish the new youth voter strength of each of the two main coalitions, CORD and Jubilee, each has been allocated a county where it received more than 65% of the Presidential votes in the 2013 elections. Where the both coalitions received an almost equal number of votes, then that county is considered “Fifty/Fifty” or “battleground”, as shown in the “Coalition” column above. Hence CORD has 19 counties, Jubilee 18 counties and 10 are “Fifty/Fifty” counties. Vihiga County which voted for the Amani Coalition is considered a CORD county for this analysis.
To establish each coalition’s share of the new youth potential voters, half of “Fifty/Fifty” county totals were added to each coalition’s overall totals, hence CORD’s share is 2.5 million and Jubilee’s share, 2.1 million, a variance of 450,000 in favour of CORD.(See table below).

[table id=60 /]

Before each of the main coalitions start targeting the youth potential voters for registration, they must ensure they have been issued with Identity cards as it is still the main impediment to their registration. The youths then must be educated on the importance of voting as a civic duty, especially the urban female youths, where just by physical examination of voting queues in past elections, are very few.
Whichever coalition manages to recruit and then ensure the majority of the youth voters turn-out to vote for it will end up victorious in the August, 2017 elections.
8th July, 2016

KENYA-YOUTH-VOTES-2017-ALL-1.xlsx (83 downloads)
KENYA-YOUTH-VOTES-2017-BY-CORD-COUNTIES-1.xlsx (86 downloads)
KENYA-YOUTH-VOTES-2017-BY-COUNTY-ALL-1.xlsx (89 downloads)
KENYA-YOUTH-VOTES-2017-BY-JUBILEE-COUNTIES-1.xlsx (81 downloads)
KENYA-YOUTH-VOTES-2017-URBAN-RURAL-1.xlsx (81 downloads)