Funding delays Kenya voter education

May 26, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 26 – The Committee of Experts on Constitutional Review (CoE) says it\’s now relying on limited funding from donors to fund the civic education programme after Treasury delayed the release of monies as scheduled.

Chairman Nzamba Kitonga said on Wednesday that the committee has so far printed copies of the draft in English, Kiswahili and Braille and further simplified it so that it can be easily understood.

He stated that COE has employed and trained 210 civic educators who will direct the exercise in every constituency within the country.

“We were to be given Sh330 million but up till now we have been given only Sh100million. We have seen that we cannot suspend the exercise until we get the funding so we have to continue with the help of donors and other like-minded people,” he said.

“We tried to talk to Treasury but they only said that the money was coming and directed us to the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional affairs,” he added while flagging off a caravan of civic educators at Uhuru Park.

“The problem was that we did not have adequate material but we had constituency educators in place,” he explained.

Last week, Treasury released Sh100 million for civic education on the proposed Constitution. The funds, whose delay has slowed the exercise, were handed out as the government hinted it might extend the 30-day period set aside for civic education.

The CoE, which is leading the voter awareness exercise, had asked Treasury for Sh300 million for educating the public on the proposed constitution.

Meanwhile, Mr Kitonga has described Monday’s court ruling against the Kadhis’ courts in the current Constitution as inconsequential to the current review process.

“The ruling that was made does not affect the proposed new constitution. It only influences the current Constitution. We have instructed all our civic educators to explain to Kenyans this fact and to tell them that it is their vote which counts during the referendum,” he said.

Mr Kitonga described the ruling as an unsuccessful attempt to derail the constitution making process.

“There is no court that can decide for Kenyans what the contents of the Constitution will be.”

The committee’s CEO Ekuru Aukot had said that the committee had only received funds meant for administration which is Sh529 million. He said the last disbursement of Sh115 million from the Treasury was released two weeks ago.

Dr Aukot said funding for civic education had not been considered when the Treasury allocated a budget for the CoE. “Publication of civic education material, infomercials, radio and television programmes had not been factored in.”

When the committee raised the issue, Treasury advised them to write a proposal, which CoE did.


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