Chebukati says lack of trust among Kenyans makes elections expensive
IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati has defended the huge budget required by the commission to conduct elections in the country.
Chebukati says Kenyan elections are expensive due to the “legal framework in place and the fact than Kenyans don’t trust each other.”
Speaking on Citizen TV’s Monday Report show, the IEBC Chairman said the Kenyan law requires that a polling station should have not more than 700 voters, this resulting in having many voting centres which in turn increases the number of personnel required.
“Kenyan Law says we cannot have more than 700 voters per polling station. In 2017 we had 40,883 polling stations. We need at least 6 clerks in each polling station, we have a presiding officer and the deputy and then security officers…. And we are paying them a minimum of Ksh.1,000 (per day),” said Chebukati.
“In 2022 we expect to have at least 53,000 polling stations. The personnel takes a very huge chunk of the budget which approaches Ksh.6 billion on human labour alone.”
He added that the security elements on the ballot paper and the advanced technology required in the elections largely due to trust issues among Kenyans is another cost driving factor.
“Our ballot papers are very expensive. We are talking about a ballot paper having more than seven features. That is like currency. Then you look at logistics and technology which we must deploy… It is because of the legal framework and the fact that Kenyans don’t trust each other that we have tried to do all these things making elections expensive,” said the IEBC boss.
Chebukati maintains that the commission will conduct a free, fair and credible election if its provided with the required funding, which he has placed at Ksh.40.9 billion.
“The commission is ready for elections. Given funds we shall deliver free, fair and credible elections,” he said.
Nevertheless, he says the only logistical challenge the commission faces at the moment is lack of 3G network coverage is some areas, but he says IEBC is in talks with the Communications Authority to address the matter.
“In 2017 we had 11,000 polling stations without 3G network and we could not transmit the text and image result until pour Presiding Officers had to go to certain areas like tallying centres to transmit… We have areas that still don’t have network. We are engaging the communications authority with a view to mapping out these areas,” he said.
In the event that 3G network will not be available in the said areas, Chebukati says the commission will have to seek for funds to bring in satellite phones which are very expensive.
IEBC is expected to hold the next General Election on August 9, 2022.