Reduce cost of Kenyan elections, IEBC urged
Posted Tuesday, July 10 2012 at 14:08
The electoral body should find ways to cut down the cost of the next General Election, German ambassador to Kenya Margit Hellwig-Boete has said.
Ms Hellwig-Boete said the country could pick lessons on reducing the cost of elections from Germany that spends about Sh7 billion for a population of 82 million citizens.
Out of those, 62 million are registered voters compared to Kenya’s 12 million registered voters and Sh17 billion earmarked for the elections.
Initially, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) had requested for Sh41 billion to administer the elections scheduled for March 4, 2013.
“The election is going to be a complicated one where voters for the first time will be required to choose six leaders at a go, but even with that the IEBC will have to find ways of reducing the costs of administering the elections," said Ms Hellwig-Boete.
In the new system, voters will be required to elect president, governor, senator, MP, county assembly representative and women's representative unlike the previous elections, where three leaders were elected.
“The IEBC, for instance, should use existing government vehicles instead of purchasing new ones," she said.
She spoke in Nairobi during a Kenya Alliance of Residents Association forum to discuss issues of governance during and after the General Election.
Already, the polls agency is contemplating borrowing electoral equipment from the East African Community states as a part of the cost-cutting measures.
Eyeing electoral tools
IEBC chairman Isaack Hassan said that Kenya is eyeing electoral tools from Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda or Burundi that have recently come out of an election.
Mr Hassan had identified the biometric voting system: “Uganda and Zanzibar have used the system before. We can borrow from them but there should be a mechanism to guide such dealings."
Biometric system records voters' fingerprints, photos and to some extent their voices which help to prevent election fraud.
On political parties, Ms Hellwig-Boete said emphasis should be on their values and philosophy rather than candidates they sponsor.
At the same time, the forum expressed concerns in the delay of the enactment of necessary laws to enable the country transit to devolved government as captured by the new Constitution.
So far, only three laws – Urban Areas and Cities Act, Inter-governmental Relations Act and Transition to Devolved Government Act – have been enacted.
The County Government Bill and Public Finance Management Bill are yet to be published.