October 17 election to cost at least Sh10 billion

Tuesday September 5 2017

Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission chairman Wafula Chebukati

Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission chairman Wafula Chebukati (left), accompanied by commissioners Margaret Mwachanya (center) and Roselyn Akombe, addresses journalists at Anniversary Towers, Nairobi, on September 1, 2017 after the presidential poll outcome was cancelled. Al Ghurair will still print ballot papers for the rerun. PHOTO | EVANS HABIL | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

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The October 17 presidential election ordered by the Supreme Court could cost at least Sh10 billion, an analysis of previous Budget estimates shows.

This will be made up of the cost of hiring polling clerks and officials, transport and security, all of which do not change even though Kenyans are only going to the poll for one elective seat, as opposed to the six on August 8.

The Sh10 billion estimate does not however include the cost of printing ballot papers, which the Raila Odinga-led National Super Alliance (Nasa) has demanded must be done by another firm other than Dubai-based Al Ghurair.

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission had paid Sh2.5 billion to the Dubai firm for the printing of 120 million ballot papers for the elections covering Kenya’s 1,882 elective seats.

It has since emerged that the IEBC had signed a two-year contract with the firm that might guarantee them a subsequent contract for printing ballot papers for all by-elections within a two-year period, including the October fresh presidential poll.

“This agreement is valid for two years, so we will be printing all the ballot papers that are required for the by-elections, too.

"We have had this contract since 2014. The contract that we have signed is a framework contract that will (last) another two years so we will be printing and supplying for other by-elections scheduled in the next two years,” Mr Lakshmanan Ganapathy, the general manager of Al Ghurair, told journalists who were part of a team that observed the printing and packaging of ballot papers in Dubai in late July.

The IEBC has narrowed down the fresh election ordered by the Chief Justice David Maraga-led Supreme Court to a rematch between President Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga, with the other six candidates locked out.

On Tuesday, the IEBC was finalising a tabulation of the costs that will be forwarded to the Treasury for funding, the communications manager, Andrew Limo, said.

In its breakdown of the Sh15.8 billion it cost to conduct the August 8 General Election, the IEBC budgeted Sh2.8 billion for hiring transport and Sh5.5 billion to pay polling officials, costs unlikely to change in the repeat poll.
Further, the commission planned Sh476 million for security, Sh260 million for licenses for the technology they used and Sh1.25 billion for compliance and litigation costs.