Friday, May 17, 2013

Sh400m for Makueni by-election: IEBC

Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) CEO, James Oswago (left) and Chairman Isack Hassan. Photo/FILE

Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) CEO, James Oswago (left) and Chairman Issack Hassan. Photo/FILE  NATION MEDIA GROUP

By LILLIAN ONYANGO ([email protected])

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission has an estimated budget of Sh400 million to run the Makueni by-election scheduled for mid-August.

IEBC Chief Executive Officer James Oswago said Treasury had not made a provision for by-elections but they have sent the budget to Treasury for approval.

“Treasury did not allocate money for by-elections. We have drawn a budget which we want them to approve and we go ahead with the plans,” he said during an interview on Nation Media Group’s radio station Qfm on Friday.

Speaker Ekwe Ethuro has declared the Makueni Senate seat vacant on Thursday following the death of Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo three weeks ago. (READ: Speaker declares Makueni Senate seat vacant)

In the event of a vacancy in the senate, the Speaker is expected to declare the seat vacant before the electoral body proceeds with the preparation for a mini poll in the affected county and Mr Ethuro said he expects the IEBC to fast-track the process.

“The law provides that the by-election be held within 90 days after the Speaker of the Senate issues of the Writs and we will roll out our plans for the by-election next week,” Mr Oswago said.

He said the high estimate was as a result of an election affecting a county which comprises many constituencies. In the past, by-elections were only conducted in one constituency.

Makueni County, which has 303,014 registered voters, is made up of Kibwezi West, Kibwezi East, Kaiti, Kilome, Mbooni and Makueni constituencies.

Mr Oswago expressed confidence that Treasury would endorse the proposal saying though it was not previously provided for, it was expected to happen either as a result of the death of an elected leader or from the order of the court.

“So now that is has occurred, we have told them what our budget is,” he said.

However, IEBC Communications Manager Tabitha Mutemi later in the day said the commission was yet to figure out the cost of the impending election.

“A by-election at the senate level is a new undertaking, with multiple implications and permutations.

“Therefore, it would be very speculative and inaccurate, to take what it costs to run a by-election in a constituency and project that to estimate what it might cost to run an election within a county,” she said in a statement sent to newsrooms.

She confirmed that the IEBC did not factor in by-election costs in its 2012/2013 budget, on the advice of Treasury.

“The commission wishes to firmly state that it will only communicate the actual date and estimated costs after its deliberations set for next week,” Ms Mutemi said.

Mr Kilonzo was found dead at his Maanzoni ranch on April 27, in what the family described as mysterious circumstances. (READ: 52 samples in Mutula death probe)

Police are yet to release the results of their investigation and government and private of pathologists that carried an autopsy on the senator’s body said it would take 8-10 weeks for the results to be known.

He was buried on May 9 at his home in Woyani village, Mbooni.

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