Raila laughs off IEBC’s Kshs.14 billion ‘outrageous’ referendum budget

Written By: Muraya Kamunde
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Raila: Actualization of BBI not driven by selfish motives

ODM leader Raila Odinga has renewed opposition’s calls to have the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) overhauled.

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Raila’s latest push was prompted by the electoral agency’s claims that a referendum to pass Building Bridges Initiative report recommendations would be costly to the taxpayer.

On Wednesday, the Wafula Chebukati-led commission told parliament that a popular initiative will cost the taxpayer close to Kshs 14 billion.

The commission’s Acting CEO Hussein Marjan said the figure was arrived at after factoring in all the logistics involved including facilitation of the total number of eligible voters in the country which currently stands at 19.6 million as captured in the IEBC register to take part in the exercise.

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But Raila would hear none of it. The former Premier dismissed the figure noting that “elections had become a major avenue for ripping the country through schemes never meant to save costs or yield credible results but to line pockets of individuals.”

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“That kind of impunity cannot be allowed to soil an exercise like the upcoming BBI referendum whose objectives among others is to stop the culture of theft of public resources and corruption in public offices,” He charged

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He said that the intended referendum was aimed at bringing sanity to Kenya’s election processes including aligning the costs to global trends.

“That message needs to get to IEBC,” he said

“Among countries with an established tradition of holding regular elections, the cost per voter ranges from approximately $1 to $2. There is absolutely no excuse why Kenya, with a long history of holding elections, should pay more,” he added.

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According to Odinga who is currently on a visit to the Democratic Republic of Congo, the country should be able to conduct a one ballot referendum at no more than Ksh 2 billion for 20 million registered voters.

“The Ksh 14 billion IEBC is talking about is outrageous but also a manifestation of the institution’s insensitivity to the changes Kenyans are crying for in the management of public affairs.”’ He stressed.

Going forward, Raila says proponents of the BBI will pick a team to sit with the elections body to itemize what will lead to a cost-effective referendum exercise.

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