Kenya PM seeks donor help over polls
Posted Tuesday, June 19 2012 at 14:39
Prime Minister Raila Odinga is asking donors to provide more funds to enable Kenya's electoral body to conduct a credible General Election.
He said Tuesday additional funds are required to help the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) bridge any financial shortfalls that may arise.
The IEBC has been allocated Sh17.5 billion in the 2012/2013 financial year to conduct the elections, an amount it has previously termed as inadequate to conduct a credible poll.
It had requested about Sh35 billion but this was slashed to Sh17.5 billion by Treasury.
Both the Parliamentary Budget committee and the Constitution Implementation Oversight Committee (CIOC) had objected to IEBC’s Sh35 billion saying it was too high.
Finance minister Njeru Githae has previously argued that Sh17.5 billion is enough for the electoral commission to conduct the polls.
"The figures from the Treasury are not cooked somewhere. We met the IEBC, went through their budget line by line and what we gave them was fair and reasonable," said Mr Githae.
"The money is enough and adequate for the commission to prepare for a fair and adequate and credible elections."
But speaking Tuesday, Mr Odinga appeared to agree with the IEBC that the money may not be adequate and appealed to the country’s development partners to help offset any shortfalls the electoral body may encounter in funding the exercise.
Noting that very large financial resources are required for the elections, the PM pointed out that the financial support from the development partners will fill any gaps that may remain.
Mr Odinga further welcomed concrete proposals from the development partners to assist in ensuring that all Kenyans will be well informed of the elections and participate in it freely without concern about personal safety. He said it is critical that the elections are conducted in such a manner that the results will be credible and be seen to represent the will of Kenyans.
Mr Odinga expressed confidence that the coming election and the new Constitution provided Kenya with the best chance to move forward.
“A direction that will create new jobs, spur long-term economic growth and most importantly ensure that each of our citizens benefits from the wealth being created in a stable and peacefully environment,” he said when he opened the fourth development partnership forum meeting at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre.
“I remain confident that if we implement the new Constitution and respect it; if we recast our politics and focus on issues, policies and ideologies rather than individuals and tribes, and with your support, this nation will triumph.”
In this regard, the PM appealed to the development partners against issuing travel advisories to their citizens that discouraged travel to Kenya saying the government will ensure that elections do not disrupt economic development.
On the Constitution, the PM made it clear that the government is firmly and unequivocally committed to its full implementation, adding the successful implementation of the Constitution is a key driver in the realisation of the country’s development agenda.