NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 29 – Chairperson of the National Assembly Budget and Appropriation Committee, and the Justice and Legal Affairs (JLAC) Committee will hold a joint session to deliberate on the funding of the electoral agency ahead of the 2022 Genral Election.
Kieni lawmaker Kanini Kega who chairs the budget team made the announcement on Wednesday following a meeting with officials from the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) led by Vice Chairperson Juliana Cherera.
Kega acknowledged a budget deficit of Sh13 billion that needs to be addressed to facilitate its operations.
“In this financial year, I can confirm that we had allocated Sh10 billion then in the next financial year about Sh14 or Sh16 billion. So, what we have agreed is that we will have a session with our colleagues from JLAC because issues to do with budget are discussed in a committee,” Kega said.
“The IEBC will take us through their requirements.”
He pointed out that the meeting to be held in a week’s time, will provide the commission with an opportunity to explain and give a breakdown of how Sh40 billion will be utilized in the 2022 elections.
“We want to be prepared for the next general election. An election is not an event it is a process and this process must be done at the appropriate time without delays. We are looking forward for that session and of course we will engage Treasury to make sure that it is able to provide the necessary resources that are required to conduct, credible, verifiable and timely general election,” said Kega.
The electoral body had already announced that it requires Sh40 billion to conduct the 2022 General Election, but the National Treasury allocated Sh26.3 billion for the election set for August 9, which the commission insisted is insufficient.
Some lawmakers faulted the poll agency accusing it of exaggerating its budget.
National Assembly Majority Leader Amos Kimunya said the exaggeration was unnecessary.
“I know in India an election that takes millions and millions of voters if you look at per capita cost per vote in this country you can tell that we are actually being taken for a ride,” he protested during debate on the floor of the House.
The Kipipiri lawmaker lamented that it was unimaginable for such an amount of money to be pumped into an election exercise at the expense of Kenyans.
“We cannot be spending Sh40 billion every five years to conduct an election, this is something which is fundamentally wrong,” he said.
IEBC Chairperson Wafula Chebukati has in various forums defended the budget saying the funds will enable the agency conduct an election within coronavirus containment protocols while also ensuring polling stations do not exceed 700 voters, a threshold set out under the law.
In case the funding does not materialize, the commission said it will have to cut down on several activities and take interventions including reducing the number of ballot papers printed for contingencies, the number of employees and scale down mass voter registration.