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12 Reasons Why Voter Turnout Decreased!

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In August, over 15 million of the 19.6 million registered Kenyan voters came out to exercise their sovereign power to a democratically elected leader per Kenya Constitution 1 (2). The elections were invalidated by the Supreme Court September 1st and Kenya Constitution 140 that requires a repeat of elections within 60 days became applicable. Here below are the 12 reasons why the exercise of Sovereign Power declined in the Kenya Constitution article 140 Election.

1. Lack of Money & Economic Fears 

The Kenya Constitution Election process has led to Kenyans spending too much time on elections and not on production. This has led to economic instability. Most persons have found themselves struggling to get money to meet their economic needs: food, shelter and others. This continued lack of money and economic fear contributed to persons not turning out to vote for they did not have the energy or could not even afford to go vote.   

2. The Four – Two Ruling by Supreme Court

The Supreme Court ruling contributed toward many Kenyans not voting. The fact that one could stand in a line for 4 hours, experience hunger like “Githeriman,” August, and then the invalidation of the votes contributed to persons not voting. The Supreme Court verdict and split rulings majority ruling of 178 pages and the 2 dissenting Justices individual rulings of, 91 pages and 400 pages affected the turnout.

3. Failure to State this is a Constitutional Election

The failure to state this was a Constitution ordered election and saying it was a Supreme Court ordered election contributed to some persons who were angry at the Supreme Court not going to vote. Had the process being explained as a constitution process those willing to defend the constitution would have turned out. 

4. Politics

The Elections in last 60 days shaped to be primarily based on persons rather than the people’s interest. The elections were turned into a competition between President Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga as opposed to the Kenya economic agenda of 2017 – 2022 of Jubilee and NASA. This created low interest in the turnout.         

5. August Results and Raila Odinga Withdrawal

The August result of 8.2 million Uhuru Kenyatta (54%) and 6.8 million Raila Odinga (44%). Some voters who were part of the 8.2 million votes relaxed. When Raila called the 6.8 million persons not to vote this contributed to the low turnout of persons who had voted for him and even those who had voted for Uhuru Kenyatta. Many Kenyans did not see the need to spend the energy to go vote after Raila withdrawal. A Kenyan requires energy to wake up and go vote. It would cost someone time and energy. People preferred to use this time and energy for other things. 

6. Voting For One Seat as Opposed to Six Seats

The August election had six (6) seats on the ballot. The October had one seat. A voter whose main reason to participate in the elections August was the election of Governor, MP or MCA and not necessarily the President and just voted for President since they got 6 ballots, August, did not show up.  This occurs anywhere in the world. 

7. 14 Candidates as Opposed to Over 16,000 Candidates

On August election, there were over 16,000 candidates on the ballots. This time around there were 14 persons on the ballot after. It is the over 16,000 candidate's collective efforts that brought 15 million of the 19.6 million persons to the polling stations. This time around it was the effort of the candidates who campaigned that brought persons to the ballot.   

8. Voter Apathy 

Just like in a sports game, the interest of the brain to the elections declined as time continued and based on the message. The turnout showed the decline in interest and enthusiasm level. This is similar to how person walk out of a sports stadium or don't show up.  

9. Parliament & County Government August Results 

The election in August filled in 1,928 seats of Governor, Member of Parliament - Senate, Member of Parliament - National Assembly and Member of County Assembly. The voter’s decision to vote or not vote was influenced by the results of August. Those whose candidates lost in other seats were not interested.    

10. Election Day 

The second Tuesday of August was known by the voters as the voting day over a long period. The October 26th date was known for barely 30 days after initially being set at October 17th. Persons who could not adjust their plans and budgets to accommodate the Election Day did not vote.  

11. Hate of Politics

Dirty language and heated political climate make the holders of Sovereign Power hate politics. Once a person hates and switches off politics from their daily life, the likelihood of the person voting reduces to zero. The elections of October became a torture.  

12. Schools National Examinations

Elections occurring during the period when the Primary and Secondary Schools national exams are conducted contributed to lower turnout. Persons who are planning examinations priority was not, the elections. Parents who are planning for the next stage of their child’s life priority was their child's future and not elections.     

Regardless of the decision made by all those who did not vote the minimum Constitutional requirements is 2,000 persons nominating/electing in 24 counties or 48,000. The ones who voted will have elected the President October 2017 and fulfilled the requirement as set in Kenya Constitution article 1. (1) All sovereign power belongs to the people of Kenya and shall be exercised only in accordance with this Constitution. (2) The people may exercise their sovereign power either directly or through their democratically elected representatives.

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