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European Union gives IEBC Sh570m for 2017 elections

By Moses Nyamori | Published Fri, February 12th 2016 at 00:00, Updated February 11th 2016 at 21:34 GMT +3
IEBC Chairman Ahmed Issack (left) when he met European Union and United Nations officials in Nairobi yesterday. With him are UNDP Resident Representative Michel Balima, European Parliament member Alojz Peterle and EU Ambassador Stefano Dejak. [PHOTO:ANGELA MAINA/STANDARD]

The electoral agency has received Sh570 million from the European Union to ensure free, fair and credible polls next year.

This was part of a deal between EU and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) that was sealed in Nairobi yesterday. It is aimed at "strengthening the institutional, policy and legislative frameworks" in readiness for the 2017 general election.

The partners expressed commitment to continue supporting Kenya to ensure political stability.

"Electoral assistance is a large and complex undertaking. I urge our development partners to continue to work closely with us in realising the vision for free, fair, credible, transparent and peaceful electoral processes," said UNDP resident representative Michel Balima.

Head of EU delegation Alojz Peterle, who is in the country to discuss preparations for the elections, said the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) requires adequate and timely funding to ensure credible polls.

"Everywhere electoral processes require efficient management, thorough preparations as well as adequate and timely funding to ensure smooth operations," Mr Peterle said.

He said inclusive voter registration and full participation of political parties was key in ensuring all Kenyans accept the outcome of the electoral process.

"This is precisely the aim of the support the EU is making available today, 18 months before the elections, to assist Kenya in improving their capacity to run peaceful, credible and transparent elections," said Peterle.

During EU meeting with the Opposition on Wednesday, CORD claimed there were plans by the Government to infiltrate IEBC operations to manipulate election outcome.

Under Long-term Electoral Assistance Programme, the EU support will also help in strengthening citizen participation to ensure transparency and accountability in the electoral process.

IEBC Chief Executive Officer Ezra Chiloba said, through the support, the commission has doubled the number of Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) kits in the 1,450 wards across the country.

Mr Chilloba also announced a Sh1.1 billion ($11million) commitment by EU, the United Kingdom and the United States support for the agency as it prepares for the polls.

"A total of 5,756 BVRs kits will be deployed across the 1,450 wards. This is 100 per cent increment following support from Development Partners," he said.