Opinion and Analysis
IEBC budget should not have been slashed
Posted Thursday, June 14 2012 at 19:02
The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission budget for the next general election proposes spending at least Sh3,000 ($35.25) on each of the estimated 18 million voters who will participate in the next election.
This is not lavish but realist. IEBC has been accused by a section of MPs and Kenyans of being extravagant and that the amount it requested to competently conduct the next election is too high compared to other “established democracies” with the same number of voters.
I dispute this allegation as not realist and unfounded on logical principles and I believe those opposed to the IEBC budget forget that in any country’s budget is the democratic process like general election and the security that plunder taxpayers.
The IEBC had earlier requested for Sh42.5 billion, but the government slashed it to Sh17 billion even after the IEBC revised its budget to 35.5 billion.
In the previous elections, Kenyans went to the polls to elect the president, MPs and councillors. Only three ballot boxes were required.
However, under the new Constitution, the voters will have to choose the president, 47 governors, 47 senators, 290 MPs, 47 women representatives and 1,450 county representatives.
If voting for three leaders in every constituency used to cost the tax payer Sh7 billion how does one expect additional ballots to cost less? Logistics requires more funding from the Treasury if we want to conduct the most peaceful and transparent voting process.
Traditionally, our voting exercise starts from six in the morning and closes at six in the evening which implies 11 hours of casting ballots.
If the IEBC does not increase the polling stations and retains the current 43,000, it would mean the voting exercise will take two days!
If every person takes approximately four minutes to cast a ballot (according to the mock election conducted by IECB) then it is very impossible for 15 plus million voters to complete the whole exercise within the 11 hours allocated for voting.
This is the chief reason why IECB had proposed to increase the polling stations from the current 43,000 to 45,000 with 338 tallying centres. This was aimed at easing congestion in polling stations.
How can a poor state like Kenya fund war that will go beyond Sh42.5 billion in Somalia yet deny IEBC funds to run credible election.
Okwaro is a political analyst with Quadz Consulting Africa.