Private sector ought to do more on voter education

Thursday, September 16th, 2021 00:00 |
IEBC registers voters ahead of a General Election. Photo/PD/File

Reuben Wanjala       

As we approach next year’s General Election, efforts to ensure voter education need to be ramped up to ensure the electorate makes informed choices on the ballot box. 

Previously, corporates have done so well in ensuring voters have access to requisite knowledge ahead of elections.

But, the efforts have largely been a bit or took off a little too late. To achieve collectively effective voter education, corporates need to step up and fill the gap urgently.

There is a tendency for voters to get caught up in the ‘us versus them’ confusion during polls.

They forget what they ought to vote on or for. Some terrible mistakes we have made on the ballot can be averted if we engage in meaningful conversations on what is required of us.

This is a gap corporates need to bridge in this and more elections to come — to ensure everyone, regardless of political affiliations and beliefs, is guided and educated on the acute importance of making political choices.

The credibility that most corporates carry is fairly huge. They can use that to ensure the electorate get educated on how to conduct themselves throughout the electioneering period as well as helping pass the information to the next generation, the decision makers of tomorrow.

Community members hold some of the corporate entities in very high esteem.

This should be seen as a big advantage in pushing conversations on voter education. Corporates should leverage on this credibility to educate the masses.

Partnerships on voter education should be encouraged. What we need to see are partnerships between even the biggest rivals in terms of market and regions of operation.

In situations such as elections where every voter has an equal chance to make or break their future and the futures of those under their stewardship, it is key that utmost responsibility is exercised.

The exercising of responsibility comes when voters have been educated and are well-equipped with the required knowledge to make crucial decisions.

Partnering, a rarity in non-profit-making engagements, will help increase reach and add credibility to the intended message.

As a country, we have suffered for far too long under a dark cloud of ignorance in making informed electoral decisions. Decisions made at the ballot affect all of us directly.

It is, therefore, only fair we put a premium on voter education and that corporates step up to fill this void.

Voter education is a Corporate Social Responsibility like any other. Traditionally, corporates have done well in CSR activities and ensuring the public are an active part of their success stories.

The same should be reflected, even more aggressively, on voter education. A fully informed electorate is the greatest asset for any corporate’s sustainable future.

Major corporate entities have hundreds of thousands of followers on social media and websites.

If only they can use this massive followership to educate the masses on voter responsibility, a lot can be achieved.

It is incumbent upon every corporate entity to ensure their customers and the wider community is educated and that everyone can make informed political decisions when required.

Let’s not allow mediocrity and ignorance to hijack votes and misinform the unsuspecting.

When the ignorant come together to become a majority and affect political outcomes, we will all suffer. — The writer is a Communications Consultant

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