IEBC: A referendum will come at a huge cost to the taxpayer

Written By: Eric Biegon
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A Kenyan casting her vote at a past electoral process. Picture courtesy

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission IEBC now says a decision to subject the Building Bridges Initiative report recommendations to a popular initiative will cost the taxpayer close to Kshs. 15 billion.

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This figure is way beyond the Kshs. 2 billion that had previously been projected by opposition chief Raila Odinga as sufficient to carry out a referendum process.

Officials of the electoral agency made this revelation Wednesday when they appeared before the National Assembly’s Public Accounts Committee to respond to audit queries touching on the commission.

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Acting IEBC Chief Executive Office Hussein Marjan disclosed that a close review of a possible referendum by the commission showed that the country must be prepared to expend a sizeable chunk of its revenues to ensure a successful poll.

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“We have sat down and asked ourselves what is required for a referendum. Our budget was in excess of Sh. 14 billion even though we are still working on the exact budget.” Marjan told the lawmakers.

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He said this figure was arrived at after factoring in the total number of eligible voters in the country which currently stands at 19.6 million as captured in the IEBC register. He holds the view that this number might eventually rise given the fact that voter registration exercise has been ongoing across the country.

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The Kshs. 15 million budgets will also accommodate the needs of all polling officials and the security agents.

But when asked whether the commission as currently constituted is prepared to conduct a plebiscite, Marjan was quick to point out that the absence of a few commissioners will not deter the agency from superintending a smooth process.

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