Opposition Leader Raila Odinga has hit out at the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission over its recent announcement that the BBI referendum would cost 14 billion shillings.

On Wednesday, IEBC through its acting CEO Hussein Marjan told Parliament they had analysed what will be required to run the anticipated referendum and the cost was estimated at Sh14 billion.

"It will cost Sh14 billion though we are still fine-tuning," Marjan told the MPs.

The estimates, he said, were anchored on an estimated 19.6 million voters, a number the commission believes has increased over the years.

Reacting to IEBC’s estimate, Odinga noted that the pronouncement by IEBC is “a manifestation of the institution's insensitivity to the changes Kenyans are crying for in the management of public affairs.”

Here is Odinga’s Full Statement:

A statement attributed to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) that the upcoming referendum will cost up to Ksh14 billion is the latest indication that the electoral body and the entire election management in Kenya must be overhauled and streamlined.

Elections have become one of the major avenues for ripping off the country through various schemes that are never meant to save costs or yield credible results but to line pockets of individuals. Those schemes are evident in the IEBC's latest reasoning.

That kind of impunity cannot be allowed to soil an exercise like the upcoming BBI referendum whose objectives, among others, is to stop the culture of theft of public resources and corruption in public offices. The upcoming referendum is also intended to bring sanity to our election processes including aligning the costs to the global trends. That message needs to get to IEBC.

Among countries with established tradition of holding regular elections, the cost per voter ranges from approximately $1 to $2. There is absolutely no excuse why Kenya, with a long history of holding elections, should pay more.

In a country with government institutions including police stations, schools, national and county government offices and government vehicles in every corner in addition to a fairly well developed transport infrastructure, we should be able to conduct a one ballot referendum at no more than Ksh 2 billion for 20 million voters.

The Ksh 14 billion the IEBC is talking about is not only outrageous but also a manifestation of the institution's insensitivity to the changes Kenyans are crying for in the management of public affairs.

Shortly, we will pick a team to sit with IEBC and itemize what will lead to a cost effective referendum exercise and elections. IEBC seems to be determined never to develop an operational performance that contains costs.