The battle for the presidential seat promises a heated contest after the Mass Voter Registration (MVR) II results showed Jubilee and Cord/Nasa strongholds sharing out numbers that are not separated by wide margins.
Although Jubilee bedrock regions appeared to stand a shoulder above the Cord/Nasa turf, battleground zones that could go to either side are expected to square out the difference, serving a potentially sizzling competition that is expected to plunge President Uhuru Kenyatta into the ring with the Opposition likely candidate Raila Odinga.
Each side is seen as holding sway in about 20 counties, that is if Nasa that is still being crafted will go into the presidential race as one unit, while seven counties are counted as battle grounds that could swing either way.
Preliminary registration totals released by Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) today showed 3,782,089 new voters were listed against a target of at least six million in the month-long exercise that ended on Sunday.
The figures show Rift Valley, Eastern and Central Kenya regions accounting for more than half of the 19 million total number of registered voters. The Rift and Central are largely Jubilee footmarks but Eastern is shared out with the Opposition.
The three regions added together have listed 10,544,141 voters out of the 19,743,716 registered across the eight former provincial regions by yesterday. The rest of the five regions put together carry the remaining 9,199,575 registered voters.
Political analyst Mutahi Ngunyi, speaking last weekend on his online programme, ‘Fifth Estate’, said the additional voters listed during the MVR have not changed the electoral landscape, arguing that Jubilee and Cord shared equally.
According to Ngunyi, who coined the phrase ‘tyranny of numbers’ to describe Jubilee’s advantage in 2013, the situation remains largely the same, only with more numbers of potential voters than in the last polls.
IEBC Chairperson Wafula Chebukati said yesterday the new number of voters represents 62 percent of the Commission’s upper target of six million but 95 percent of the four million lower target.
The counties that recorded the highest number of new applications during the month-long exercise were Kajiado, followed by Mandera, Narok, Garissa, Kirinyaga, Kiambu, Wajir, Murang’a, Nakuru and West Pokot.
On the other hand, Nairobi led in counties where more than 100,000 new applications were received, with 461,346 followed by Kiambu with 225,995 and Nakuru with 175,756.
Meru came fourth with 169,803, Mombasa followed with 141,686, Kilifi with 123,866, Machakos at 114,320, Kakamega recorded 114,126 while Murang’a and Uasin Gishu listed 101,724 and 100,346 respectively.