5 October 2017

Kenya: Cost of Repeat Election Soars to Sh13.8bn

Photo: Kevin Odit/The Nation
Voters queue at Ziwa La Ngombe Primary School in Mombasa (file photo).

The cost of the repeat presidential election set for October 26 has risen to Sh13.8 billion to finance improvements in the digital technology to be employed in the polls, as ordered by the Supreme Court when it nullified the August 8 poll.

This brings to nearly Sh60 billion, the amount that the country has spent on this year's elections. An estimated Sh45 billion was spent on the August 8 General Election, whose presidential results were annulled by the Supreme Court, which cited systemic failures.

Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission chief executive officer Ezra Chiloba told MPs that the extra Sh3.8 billion, above the Sh10 billion earlier approved by the Cabinet, will make it possible for the polls agency to conduct a free and fair election.

BUDGET

Mr Chiloba told the Special House Committee on the Supplementary Budget chaired by Kipkelion East MP Joseph Limo that the Sh10 billion allocated by the National Treasury was not enough for the repeat poll.

Key components of the budget include procurement of election material, deployment of election technology, advertising, transport, polling officers' wages and allowances for two police officers in every polling station.

The police are also required to provide security for transportation of election materials to and from the 40,883 polling stations.

"At the time the additional budget was negotiated with the National Treasury, the commission had not finalised its requirement of the ICT improvements partly because of the delays of the detailed Supreme Court decision," Mr Chiloba told the committee.

The CEO also noted that the commission has so far summoned 49 returning officers to review the August 8 process with a view of punishing those who committed mistakes.

However, Mr Limo told the commission that the MPs were yet to be convinced about the Sh13.79 billion being sought.

TREASURY

"There is a reason Treasury gave you that amount. From our side, you require Sh12 billion to finance the exercise," said Mr Limo.

Mr Chiloba said that the commission had already signed a Sh2.4 billion deal with Safran and Morpho to upgrade the 40,883 Kiems kits used in the August election and for results transmission.

The IEBC technology has three components -- Kiems configuration, the staff to undertake this and the results transmission. Network service providers Safaricom, Airtel and Telkom for transmission of results will consume Sh1.2 billion.

At least Sh1.3 billion is required for election material, broken down as follows: Sh754 million for ballot papers; Sh96 million for ballot boxes for the 40,883 polling stations; Sh89 million for refilling of gas cylinders and Sh367 million for non-strategic materials.

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Advertisements will cost Sh6.5 million; with repairs for vehicles for the electoral operations consuming Sh45 million.

According to Mr Chiloba, the commission had submitted Sh12.2 billion as the global budget for the fresh election.

Later, a meeting between the commission and the National Treasury was held to review the estimates and it was revised to Sh12 billion. The National Treasury would later allocate Sh10 billion for the fresh presidential election.

DETAILED JUDGMENT

Mr Chiloba also noted that after the court's detailed judgment, the commission reviewed the Kiems technology with the contracted firm, Safran and Morpho. "This new requirement formed the basis for the additional contractual obligations between the commission and the contracting firm," he said.

The distribution of the election materials and equipment will be undertaken by Postal Corporation at Sh500 million while Sh1.92 billion will cater for one vehicle per polling station for three days.

The commission also wants Sh213 million for tallying centre expenses; Sh533 million for meals and allowances for officials; Sh84.5 million for diaspora and factory visits; Sh404.3 million for provision of security; Sh507.6 million for voter mobilisation and Sh266.8 million for training materials.

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