NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 11 – The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) is now seeking to borrow resources from countries within the East African Community(EAC) region in a bid to reduce its budget and work within the Sh17.5 billion limit allocated by the Treasury.
Chairman Isaack Hassan said on Monday that the commission will be looking to acquire biometric voter registration equipment and technological know how from its East African counterparts.
He added that negotiations with the Treasury to revise the budget upwards were still ongoing as the commission seeks to reduce its initial budget of Sh40 billion cut back on other costs.
“We are going to share experiences on campaign finance regulations, on how to engage with our stakeholders and more importantly on how to make sure that we support each other as Electoral Management Boards (EMBs) in the region to reduce the cost of elections,” he said.
“We are also going to look at whether we can share equipment where possible. For example the East African Community Secretariat has supported us in our quest to borrow the biometric voter registration system.”
He was speaking to reporters during a forum on the strengthening of the Electoral Management Boards in the east African region where he pointed out that he has invited the East Africa Community forum to observe the general elections next year.
The IEBC will have to work on a shoe-string budget to prepare and run the General Election after the Treasury gave its budget for the elections billed to be the biggest and most expensive because of the number of ballots that will be involved.
Finance Minister Njeru Githae said that Sh17.5 billion allocated to the commission in the 2012 – 2013 National Budget was enough.
The commission has been under pressure to scale down its budget, with Parliament forcing it to twice cut it down from the initial Sh41.4 billion it had requested to Sh31.5 billion.
The Parliamentary Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs made the first request to scale down the budget during its meetings with IEBC officers.
In its revised budget, the IEBC excluded Sh5 billion for a presidential re-run and reduced earlier estimates for legal expenses and voter education.
IEBC Chairman Issack Hassan had told the committee that cutting down the budget would adversely affect preparation for the polls as the bulk was to go into financing capital investments like electronic voter registration machine.
He had maintained that it would be unfair to compare the cost per unit of conducting elections in other countries with Kenya’s.