The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has cut Sh3.5 billion from its earlier Sh35 billion budget down to Sh31.5 billion.
This is second revision downwards by the electoral commission but the Hassan led group maintains that the figure could rise past Sh35 billion in the event of a presidential runoff
“We actually reduced our budget from Sh41.4 billion which we had talked about the last time we were here, to Sh35 billion, which is including a presidential re-run,” IEBC Finance and Procurement Director Edward Kenga Karisa told the Parliamentary Committee on Legal Affairs and Administration of Justice.
The commission’s executives, the Chairman Issack Hassan and Chief Executive Officer James Oswago told the committee that that is the lowest they could work with to ensure smooth run elections.
“Give us the benefit of doubt; every single cent will be accounted for through the Auditor-General’s office,” said the chairman.
“Don’t cripple the commission, because as we try to cut down on the budget you may end up affecting the core operations of the commission. Treasury loves cutting down budgets, they derive pleasure from that,” Hassan pleaded.
The Chief Executive said without the incumbent on the ballot paper a runoff was high likely and the country should be effectively prepared for that eventuality.
“Let us not forget we are doing a re-run for the first time, in France they have been doing it for years and I don’t think you would want this commission to make even 0.00 percent of a mistake. So we want to make sure that we meet the highest expectation of Kenyans, so allow us to do that,” he said.
Treasury mandarins representing the Permanent Secretary said the allocated Sh17.5 was sufficient for the commissions and was indeed more than twice the 2007 election allocation that was run with a Sh7 billion budget.
Chepalungu MP Issack Ruto and nominated MP George Nyamweya insisted the Commission should be prepared with a Sh20 billion budget.
IEBC has maintained that the Sh17.5 billion approved by the Cabinet was only half of what they requested and maintained the amount was grossly inadequate.