, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 14 – The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has once again revised its budget for the next General Election downwards from Sh35 billion to Sh31 billion.
It however maintains the figure could rise to Sh35 billion in the event of a presidential runoff.
“We actually reduced our budget from Sh41.4 billion which we had talked about the last time we were here, to Sh35 billion, which is including a presidential re-run,” IEBC Finance and Procurement Director Edward Kenga Karisa told the Parliamentary Committee on Legal Affairs and Administration of Justice.
Also appearing before the committee, IEBC Chairman Issack Hassan and Chief Executive Officer James Oswago said the new figure was the least that they could work with.
“Give us the benefit of doubt; every single cent will be accounted for through the Auditor-General’s office,” said the chairman.
“Don’t cripple the commission, because as we try to cut down on the budget you may end up affecting the core operations of the commission. Treasury loves cutting down budgets, they derive pleasure from that,” Hassan pleaded.
Oswago said a runoff was likely in the next polls should none of the presidential contenders raise the 50 percent plus one vote, that is required to assume leadership of the country.
“Let us not forget we are doing a re-run for the first time, in France they have been doing it for years and I don’t think you would want this commission to make even 0.00 percent of a mistake. So we want to make sure that we meet the highest expectation of Kenyans, so allow us to do that,” he said.
Treasury Finance Officer Isaiah Ochelle said they had allocated the electoral agency Sh17.5 billion for their operations, but believe the IEBC can comfortably run the next polls with even a lesser amount.
The previous general election in 2007 was conducted with a Sh7 billion budget.
Committee members Issack Ruto and George Nyamweya were adamant that the IEBC should prepare to work with a maximum budget of Sh20 billion.
The IEBC had initially applied for Sh41.4 billion to conduct the next election and the parliamentary committee chairman Njoroge Baiya has said Parliament will have a final say on the figure.
The Cabinet has approved a budget of Sh17.5 billion, which the IEBC has insisted was grossly inadequate.