4 February 2013

Kenya: There'll Be Cash to Fund a Runoff - Treasury

Nairobi — The Treasury has assured Kenyans that there will be enough money to fund a runoff of the presidential election in case the candidates fail to garner the required 50 plus one percent of the total votes cast.

Finance Minister Njeru Githae said on Monday that Treasury has several options of getting the money and that "there will be no crisis."

The options include a reimbursement of over Sh11billion from the United Nations Security Council used to fund the African Union Mission in Somalia, money from the contingency fund and restriction of expenditure from various ministries.

"Our position is very clear that we are owed this money. We have demanded the money and we are told that approvals have been obtained, but I think for now it's just the usual bureaucracy. But we are hopeful that if at all there will be a re-run, we will have this money. If not, then we will have to look for it elsewhere. There will be money, sufficient and adequate for that purpose," Githae assured.

He said the government has been waiting for the refund from UN to cater for the re-run and other expenditures but the United Nations had insisted that a clean audit has to be done before it was released.

Githae said the government has already received Sh2billion and hopes to receive the remaining amount soon.

The minister's statement comes amid fears that the Independent and Electoral Boundaries Commission (IEBC) maybe in a crisis if the money will not be available before March 4 and a runoff is necessary.

Earlier, the IEBC excluded the funds in its elections budget, after its total budget was reduced from around Sh31billion to Sh17.5billion.

The minister has however urged Kenyans to ensure the country gets a new leader in the first round to avoid the extra expenditure on a runoff.

"You have heard me asking Kenyans to make up their minds. I am told there are four or five political coalitions. Make up your minds and give your votes to one of them so that we do away with this matter once and for all. A re-run is very expensive," the minister said.

The IEBC will be asking for close to Sh5.5 billion in case first round fails to produce a winner who meets the constitutional threshold.

Githae was speaking after signing a Sh1.3 billion loan agreement with the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID) which will go towards the co-financing of the Electricity Expansion Programme supported by the World Bank.

The programme envisages to cover 300,000 household connections, small businesses and public institutions across the country.

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