Kenya’s August elections among the world's most expensive

Kenya’s August elections among the world's most expensive

A Kenyan woman carrying her baby casts her ballot at a polling booth in the Mathare, in Nairobi on March 4, 2013 during the elections. SIMON MAINA/AFP

At a tune of Ksh.44.6 billion, Kenya’s upcoming General Elections will be among the most expensive in the world.

This means that for the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to conduct the exercise that involves 22,120,258 registered voters,  it will be spending about Ksh.2,000 per voter.

IEBC chairperson Wafula Chebukati earlier this month revealed that printing a single ballot paper costs around Ksh.23, inclusive of VAT. 

The Athens-based company tasked with the job, Inform P Lykos Holdings SA, intends to print more than 120 million ballots which will be shipped to Kenya.

Opting to source election materials from abroad is one of the main reasons Kenyan elections have been setting the taxpayer back such staggering amounts. 

In the 2017 General Election, Ksh.49.9 billion was allocated for the election, Ksh.3.8 billion of which was towards security alone during primaries and the elections.

However, this year the cost has reduced slightly as most of the equipment used during the last polls will still be used in this year’s exercise.

In comparison, Rwanda has had the most cost-effective election in East Africa, in 2017, where its electoral body spent Ksh.761.7 million ($6.9 million) for its 6.8 million voters, or Ksh.112 per voter on average.

Uganda meanwhile spent an average of Ksh.1,400 per voter during last year’s polls, while in Zambia, the exercise cost the taxpayer Ksh.600 per voter.

For the upcoming election next year, Nigeria, which has 100 million registered voters, will spend an average of Ksh.1,000 per voter.

Globally, India, with the world’s largest number of voters (910.5 million), also spent an average of Ksh.1,000 for every voter, while the UK spent an average of Ksh.480 per voter during the two countries’ recent elections.

Our problems have everything to do with an expensive legal framework and a lack of confidence in our systems and people,” argues Mule Musau, the National Coordinator for the Elections Observation Group (ELOG) said last year.

“Unlike countries like India with only three commissioners, we have seven. We are also seeing the introduction of ballot papers with security features. That kind of thing is expensive.”

IEBC has cleared a total of 16,098 candidates to compete for political seats in the August 9 General Election.

The vacant positions include 290 seats for Members of the National Assembly, 1,450 for Members of County Assembly, and 47 Senate seats, another 47 for the positions of County Governor as well as 47 Woman Representative slots.


Citizen Digital IEBC 2022 General Election Citizen TV Kenya

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