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Ruling drills holes in IEBC pockets

IEBC CEO Ezra Chiloba with the Head of the Jubilee Party Secretariat Raphael Tuju on Friday/COURTESY

NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 17 – Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Chairman Wafula Chebukati says they will be forced to request the National Treasury to allocate more funds ahead of the next General election.

Chebukati says the agency had been left in a difficult financial position after the extension of the Mass Voter Registration by the courts.

He also cited the possibility of the commission of supervising Jubilee Party nominations leading to a further dent to their budget.

And without the requisite funding, he said, the commission’s ability to effectively carry out its mandate would be severely compromised.

“We have to make adjustment to our budget because it has been affected. We spend an average of between Sh30 million and Sh40 million in the Mass Voter Registration to hire third parties and maintain the BVR kits. Any additional time will mean extra money which the Commission is at constraints to afford,” Chebukati said even as he intimated the need to request the National Assembly to discuss fresh budgetary allocations to include funding for party primaries.

Chebukati, however, said that the exact amount of money that the electoral agency will need remains unknown.

The ruling means that the commission will spend additional Sh200 million for the three days.

Mass Voter Registration was initially scheduled to end on February 14 but the High Court judge Justice Enock Chacha extended it to Sunday following an application by activist Okiya Omtatah.

In regards to the conducting the Jubilee Party nominations, the commission estimates the country could fork out as much as Sh4.4 billion for each political party’s primaries conducted by the electoral agency.

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Conducting competitive primaries in a Ward for an Member of County Assembly (MCA), Member of Parliament (MP), County Woman Representative and Governor is estimated to cost Sh3,000,000.

This brings the total cost of conducting nominations in the 1,450 wards across the country to Sh4.35 billion.

Meanwhile, Chebukati confirmed that they will be opening the voters’ register to the public for verification from May 9 once the voter listing closes on Sunday.

The Commission plans to allow voters to verify their registration status through both short messages services and physical visits to IEBC offices, before the final register is published two months before elections.


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