Lamu Governor, Issa Timamy has urged the Independence Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to ensure that the minority Boni people who were displaced following the launch of the multi-agency security Operation Linda Boni by the national government are effectively reached and registered as voters.
Speaking during a meeting with the community’s leaders at Miririni Village in Lamu East, Mr Timamy expressed concerns that many of the residents living in the vast Boni Forest might not register in the ongoing nationwide mass voter listing due to the military operation that aims to flush out Al-Shabaab terrorists from the region.
Mr Timamy said he is sure that majority of the residents within the Linda Boni operation zones abandoned their homes and fled to safer areas like Kiunga, Faza, Mkokoni and Lamu Island.
Those affected are residents of Basuba, Milimani, Mangai, Mararani and Kiangwe who were forced to flee their homes, making it difficult for them to return due to security concerns.
Mr Timamy said voter registration is a concern for the Boni community and insisted on the need for IEBC to come up with strategies that will ensure all of them are registered from where they sought refuge after moving away from their homes.
“Due to the ongoing Operation Linda Boni that has been in place for the past two years, many Boni residents who fled to Kiunga, Madina, Mkokoni and other areas of Lamu have not been sensitised on the voter registration.
“They have no aim of going back to their homes and need to transfer their [voting centres]. IEBC should look into this,’’ said Mr Timamy.
He said the Boni people are poor and cannot travel to IEBC headquarters in Faza to register and urged the commission follow them to where they sought refuge.
The governor said the ongoing voter registration in the county has not picked as the turnout is still very low.