Kenya’s electoral commission has registered a total number of 1,521 new voters in the diaspora eligible to vote in the August 8 presidential elections.
These voters were registered earlier in February and March at Kenya’s embassies and high commissions in Burundi, Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda and South Africa.
In Rwanda, 850 voters are expected to cast their ballots at the Kenyan High Commission in Kigali on August 8.
Kenyan High Commissioner to Rwanda, John Mwangemi, confirmed the number to Rwandan media New Times expressing readiness for the process.
“We have received a team from the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) who came and registered the voters and later, we conducted civic education on how to vote and what is required of each registered voter,” he said.
The 850 people registered in Rwanda is just a small fraction of the 1,400 Kenyans in the country registered with the high commission.
Kenya’s IEBC has stated clearly that voters in the diaspora can only vote for the president and not parliamentarians, senators, governors and local assembly representatives.
The IEBC said in March this year that South Africa registered the highest number of new voters with 665 registered followed by Tanzania with 361.
247 new voters registered in Uganda, 201 in Rwanda and 47 in Burundi.
The constitution mandates the IEBC to register all eligible Kenyans in the diaspora as voters. But the commission has restricted the exercise to the five countries in East and South Africa due to logistical constraints.
Kenyans go to the polls on August 8 to vote for a new president. Eight candidates are contesting in the tensed election that has two favourites – President Uhuru Kenyatta of the Jubilee Party and Raila Odinga of the National Super Alliance (NASA).