NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 10 – The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission has identified a shortfall in funding as the biggest challenge to its bid to register eight million more voters ahead of the 2017 General Election.
IEBC Chairman Issack Hassan says they have received only a quarter of the Sh2 billion they require to successfully execute a mass voter registration drive.
“The Commission presented its budget to the National Treasury for all electoral activities up to 2017. Out of the budget of Sh2 billion for the comprehensive mass voter registration, the commission received only Sh500 million,” he said at a press briefing on Thursday.
And without the requisite funding, he said, the commission’s ability to effectively carry out its mandate would be severely compromised.
“From our evaluation of the last elections, late and inadequate funding remains one of the main challenges to the Commission’s ability to perform its mandate effectively.”
Absent sufficient funds, Hassan said millions of eligible voters risked being locked out of the electoral process and denied their right to vote.
“Every Kenyan of 18 years and above with valid documents is entitled to register and vote or contest in an election. As of December 2014, the National Registration Bureau had issued a total of 23.8 million National ID cards,” he referenced.
He said the necessity of a mass voter registration drive could be demonstrated by the low number of new voters registered since the last general election.
“The post-2013 continuous voter registration has been slow and uninspiring. Only 106,601 new voters have registered as of June 2015,” he communicated.
He said should the Commission fail to do its very best to reach the millions of eligible but yet unregistered voters, it would be a disservice to the Kenyan people whose collective will it is its primary duty to help realise.