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We have money to pay IEBC chiefs if they quit, says Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich

By Wilfred Ayaga | July 28th 2016
CS Henry Rotich reads the 2016 budget in parliament. The Government yesterday said it has money to pay off the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) bosses should they exit office before the next General Election. (PHOTO: BONIFACE OKENDO/ STANDARD)

Should the electoral agency commissioners opt to leave office before their term ends, they will be paid their dues.

The Government yesterday said it has money to pay off the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) bosses should they exit office before the next General Election.

Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich yesterday told Parliament's select committee on the electoral body that although the money was not factored in the Budget, it would be 'an unforeseen expense that would be catered for by the contingency fund'.

"When we write the Budget, we do not assume that something like this is going to happen. When we were doing the Budget, there was no discussion on the exit of the commissioners. However, we have contingency funds for such unforeseen expenditure if it does occur," Mr Rotich told the committee.

Treasury further proposed that elections for the President and that of governors be held on different dates to reduce logistical expenses.

He explained that the country spends Sh2,100 per voter compared to other countries that spend an average of Sh170 per voter.

"There is need to adjust the practice of conducting six elections on the same day. You may want to separate executive elections from legislative elections so that you utilise the staff available and minimise the practice of conducting six heavy elections on the same day," the CS told the committee co-chaired by Senators Kiraitu Murungi (Meru) and James Orengo (Siaya).

This would mean conducting presidential and gubernatorial elections on the same day, and setting those for Parliament and county assemblies on a different date, a scenario the CS said would place Kenya on a similar pedestal with other countries.

The question of prudent use of resources and of the commissioners' exit has been a thorny one, with various stakeholders proposing that the commissioners give way to a new team to conduct the next elections.

Among those who have made the recommendations are religious leaders, the Central Organisation of Trade Unions (Cotu) and members of the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ).

The committee is investigating any allegations against IEBC, with a possibility of recommending commissioners' exit from office. The team is also mandated to propose the legal and policy reforms to the electoral system.

Rotich's comments add another angle to the debate, in which some commissioners have reportedly written to President Uhuru Kenyatta expressing their willingness to leave in dignity if offered an exit package.

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