NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 4 – The chairman of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Issack Hassan has backed calls for a staggered General Election.
Speaking during a meeting with the parliamentary Justice and Legal Affairs Committee to scrutinise the commission’s budget, Hassan proposed that the country hold presidential and National Assembly polls separately from those of Senators, Governors and County Representatives.
He said that while it is much cheaper to have all elections in one day, as was the case in the last election, the efficiency of conducting those elections was at stake.
Hassan said it will be inadvisable for Kenyans to hold another six-in-one election like it happened on March 4.
Ndhiwa MP Aghostinho Neto, has already proposed a constitutional amendment Bill which seeks to separate presidential elections from the other five polls.
Neto proposes that the presidential election be held on the second Tuesday of August as stipulated by the Constitution, while the elections for the National Assembly, Senate and county seats take place on the second Tuesday of December every fifth year.
Meanwhile, the IEBC was put on the spot by Justice and Legal Affairs Committee chairman Samuel Chepkong’a (Ainabkoi) and his Constitution Implementation Oversight Committee counterpart Njoroge Baiya (Kiambaa) over their budget requests, with the MPs committee asking the commission to rationalise its spending and put in proper requests to the government.
This is after Hassan said the Treasury had slashed their request of Sh6.6 billion to Sh4 billion.
The commission plans to use Sh800 million to buy an exclusive office block after it claimed that its current headquarters at the Anniversary Towers was congested and insecure for its facilities.
Hassan told the MPs that the commission pays an annual rent of Sh48 million.
IEBC Secretary James Oswago said they had set aside Sh506 million for lawyers who would represent the commission in the election petitions.
The commission said the cost for conducting the Makueni by-election on July 22 was not included in the budget proposal because the Treasury had directed them not to budget for the polls. Oswago said they had put in a separate request for money for the exercise.
Lawyers who represented the commission in the boundaries delimitation cases are owed Sh390 million, while those who handled the presidential petition at the Supreme Court are owed Sh364 million.
Oswago said the commission had not yet paid clerks who were overseeing the General Election, but the MPs assured that they would be paid in two weeks after the National Treasury releases the money.
The MPs also demanded that IEBC file a report showing the pay packages of the staff, and the commissioners.