According to Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), it will need Sh30 billion to achieve credibility in Kenya’s 2017 election. Kenya is having her next General Election in 2017 and of course everybody is optimistic it will be free and fair.
The commission revealed that Government had only released Sh500 million for the mass voter registration exercise to be carried out throughout the nation against a budget of Sh2 billion.
In a statement during the end of a two-day retreat which saw IEBC officials and representatives from 60 political parties at the Great Rift Valley Lodge in Naivasha, Chairman Issack Hassan revealed that inadequate funds could affect the planned voter registration exercise.
He hinted that since there is no sufficient fund, the registration exercise would be carried out at ward levels instead of voter centres as had been planned.
IEBC chairman Issack Hassan declined a proposal by Leader of Majority in the National Assembly Adan Duale asking for extension of the commission’s term, insisting that the team would carry out its duties within the stipulated time.
Quoting Issack Hassan:
“There is misinformation over the issue and we are sure we can conduct the elections and a run-off, if need be, without having our term extended.”
Hassan further explained that the commission planned to register 8 million voters in next two financial years and was hopeful and confident the goal will be reached before the next General Election creeps in.
He further said that the 16,000 BVR kits procured for the last General Election were enough and would be utilized during registration. In his words:
Due to financial constraints, we cannot buy more BVR kits and despite the challenges, we are ready to conduct free and fair elections.”
Defending the reputation of the commission against accusations from CORD, Hassan said they had in the past held meetings with the Opposition.
We expect the next General Election to be very competitive and vicious mainly on MCAs seats and we are ready for this,” he said.
Supporting the chairman Hassan, IEBC CEO Ezra Chiloba Simuyu added that IEBC had already based its budget containing the cost to be incurred in the next two and half years on the Sh30 billion.
Mr Chiloba also hinted that the next election would be smooth and reliable if they get enough financial and political backings the commission needs.
For the next General Election to be smooth and credible, we need financial and political support mainly in the voter registration exercise,” he says.
Furthering, the commission’s CEO said that the continuous voter registration had catered for 156,000 new voters, a number he described as too poor, thus the need for the mass registration exercise come next month.
The chairman of the Political Parties Forum David Wakahu also confessed that the financial issues pose a major challenge to the commission conducting what it is tasked in the election exercise.
According to him “we have had a fruitful discussion with IEBC, who have shared their information with us and we are fully behind them,” .
The sentiments were echoed by Deputy Secretary General of Sisi Kwa Sisi party Julius Mwangi who noted that without enough funding, the next elections could not be credible.
Peoples Party of Kenya Secretary General John Kihiko urged eligible Kenyans voters to come out in mass for the registration exercise that will start mid next month.
Deputy Secretary General of Sisi Kwa Sisi party Julius Mwangi also pointed out that if finance is not made available for this course it will birth numerous several constraints that will jeopardize with the credibility of the next elections. He stated:
For the next General Election to be smooth and credible, we need financial and political support mainly in the voter registration exercise,” .