By PETER OPIYO
The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission still has a hurdle
to overcome as MPs and Treasury are not convinced with the
Commission’s reduced budget of Ksh31.5 billion.
Even though IEBC reduced its budget from the initial Sh41.4 billion to
Sh31.5 billion the Parliamentary Committee on Justice and Legal
Affairs and Treasury said the cost was too much and could be further
reviewed. Treasury had allocated IEBC Sh17.5 billion.
The reduced budget excludes the cost of a presidential re-run, even
though the Commission said it believes a re-run is a possibility. It
put the cost of re-run at Sh5.4 billion.
But Chairman of the Commission Isaack Hassan pleaded with the
Committee to ensure that the Commission’s proposal be taken on board
as any reduction may cripple the electoral body.
“Even in the era of austerity measures, please don’t cripple the
Commission,” pleaded Hassan.
It is now upon Parliament to approve the revised figures after the
Committee presents its report to MPs factoring the Commission’s
explanations for more funding. Mr Hassan said it was better the money
requested is allocated as the Commission would give an account of
every cent spent in the process.
“I want to impress upon the Committee to give this Commission the
benefit of the doubt. We are a public institution and we are going to
be audited, so every single shilling you vote for would be accounted
for,” said Mr Hassan.
But Treasury, which was represented at the meeting at Parliament’s
continental House, by Finance Officer, Mr Isaiah Ochelle said the
reduced budget could be further revised.
“As much as this election is critical IEBC still needs to review its
budget,” said Mr Ochelle.
IEBC CEO James Oswago explained the additional expenditure is
occasioned by capital spending given that the country is conducting
fresh elections that would ensure a clean voter register and would
also see additional candidates to be voted for. Voters would vote for
six candidates for various elective positions.
Some of the capital expenditures include voter registration,
acquisition of poll books to prevent multiple voting, transparent
ballot boxes and purchase of motor vehicles. Oswago said though the
Commission has been hiring vehicles it would but cost-effective if it
buys its own vehicle.
The Commission needs additional 200 vehicles at
a cost of Sh1.2 billion. It would spend Sh800 million to hire the