EXERCISING THE RIGHT TO VOTE
Elections and the voting process are an integral part of democracy in any republic. Every once in a number of stipulated years, citizens go to the ballot to elect new leaders, and retain those who have shown good qualities. These elections act as a checker to keep the government on its toes.
In the year 2015 our neighboring country Tanzania elected H.E John Pombe Magufuli. He is so far the most talked about President in matters concerning change. In this year 2016, neighboring Uganda also took to the ballot on the 18th of February and voted in H.E Yoweri Kaguta Museveni for his fifth term in office. Here in Kenya, 2017 will be our year to elect new leaders, as we brace ourselves for the upcoming General Elections.
Preparations have already kicked in; both on the political fronts and the elections body. In this regard, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) is currently engaging in a 30-day voters' registration exercise.
This is their mandate under Article 88 of the Constitution which states:-
"(4) The commission is responsible for conducting or supervising referenda and elections to any elective body or office established by the Constitution, and any other elections as prescribed by an Act of Parliament and, in particular, for
- The continuous registration of citizens as voters;
- The regular revision of the voter's roll;
The IEBC is targeting to register four million new voters in the exercise. The new voters include:
- those who have recently attained the voting age of 18 years and have acquired national identity cards
- those who were of voting age by 2012 but did not manage to register as voters for various reasons; and
- those voters who wish to update their details or transfer form one polling station to another
This is to say that those who participated in the 2013 general elections NEED NOT register as they are already in the voters' roll. The opportunity to pick a voters' card for the next general election is yet to present itself.
For the new voters targeted by the commission, it is of great importance to participate in the exercise, as it enables one to fulfill their political rights.
Article 38 of the constitution provides with this regard, as follows;
"(3) Every adult citizen has the right without, unreasonable restrictions:
- to be registered as a voter;
- To vote by secret ballot in any election or referendum; and
- To be a candidate for public office, or office within a political party of which the citizen is a member, and if elected, to hold office."
The requirements for one to be registered as a voter are also provided for in the Constitution under article 83;
"(1) A person qualifies for registration as a voter at elections or referenda if the person;
- Is an adult citizen
- Is not declared to be of unsound mind; and
- Has not been convicted of an election offence during the preceding five years"
It would be worth noting however, that one cannot be registered at more than one centre. This is clearly pointed out under Article 83 (2) which states, '...A citizen who qualifies for registration as a voter shall be registered at only one registration centre.'
The fact that every citizen has a right to vote means they have been given the power to determine who works for them, and for how long they can hold a public office. If for the last 4 years you have not been satisfied with the leaders who are currently in office, then you have a chance to make the change. Choose to vote; choose to voice your choice.
GET YOUR NAME ON THE VOTERS' ROLL TODAY!!!