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IEBC will not extend registration exercise

NATIONAL
By Joackim Bwana | October 28th 2021

IEBC officials register a voter at Kakamega Lions School in Lurambi Constituency, October 2021. [Benjamin Sakwa, Standard]

The voter registration exercise will not be extended due to lack of funds, the electoral agency said yesterday.

Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) chairman Wafula Chebukati said the commission was allocated Sh1.2 billion out of the Sh4 billion it had requested for the exercise that is currently underway.

Registration is scheduled to end on November 2, with the IEBC targeting to register six million new voters.

But reports from across the country show that the electoral agency may not hit the target largely due to apathy by the youth.

“After November 2, we will not have money to extend the voter registration exercise. The commission can only afford to conduct mass registration for 30 days,” said Chebukati.

IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati. [Courtesy]

He said the commission will need an extra Sh1.3 billion to audit the voter register, and for other expenses.

The IEBC commissioners were meeting members of the parliamentary Budget and Appropriations Committee in Mombasa to make a case for additional funding.

The electoral body is seeking Sh40.9 billion for next year’s elections.

Committee chairman Kanini Kega termed the budget as exorbitant and questioned the agency’s decision to procure expensive ballot papers.

Security features

According to the IEBC, the ballot papers will cost Sh5.9 billion. Chebukati defended the costs saying each ballot paper will cost Sh35 because of new security features.

“In Rwanda, they use normal papers in the polls. But in Kenya, we have come up with expensive ballot papers because of the mistrust of Kenyans,” he said.

Chebukati said the commission “cannot be able to account for votes cast on normal papers like in Rwanda and other countries.”

He said the commission wanted to ensure that the General Election will be transparent and verifiable, adding that they will spend Sh5.3 billion on ICT.

The IEBC chairman said the commission has been allocated Sh36.5 billion but it requires an extra Sh4.4 billion. The commission was first given Sh26.5 billion before it was allocated an additional Sh10 billion.

IEBC is seeking Sh40.9 billion for next year’s elections. [File, Standard]

“We are going to buy new kits for increased poll stations and to replace those that have worn out,” said Chebukati, even as the MPs put him to task on why he had started to procure electoral gadgets without conducting public participation and engaging political parties.

IEBC Chief Executive Office Marjan Hussein said the commission will engage political parties before it starts the process to procure ICT gadgets.

“Early procurement leads to lower cost of electoral materials. We do not want to start late procurement like it was done in 2017,” said Mr Hussein.

He said the commission has not committed itself to any particular firm or organisation to supply the election materials.

At the same time, Chebukati said they have appealed the Court of Appeal verdict that declared the agency was not properly constituted.

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