Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Chair Wafula Chebukati has termed ODM leader Raila Odinga’s statement on the cost of the BBI referendum as “very unfortunate and lacks objectivity and understanding of the conduct of elections.
In a statement on Thursday, Odinga called for the overhauling of the polls body after it announced that the BBI referendum would cost Kenyans 14 Billion shillings.
According to the former Prime Minister, 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.”
Reacting to Odinga, Chebukati released a statement with the cost estimates further noting that in the previous 2010 referendum, the country spent approximately 10 billion shillings under the watch of the ODM leader who was then Prime Minister.
According to Chebukati, the cost per voter has since increased, and added other issues like technology, training, and conducting an election during this Covid-19 time have made the cost much higher.
Here is IEBC's statement on the referendum cost:
The Commission’s attention has been drawn to a statement by the Rt. Hon Raila Odinga in his twitter handle to the effect that the upcoming referendum cannot cost Ksh.14 billion and that elections have become one of the major avenues for ripping off the Country through various schemes. The Commission considers the statement very unfortunate and lacks objectivity and understanding of the conduct of elections.
The estimated figure of Kshs.14 billion given to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) in response to a question by a member of PAC was informed by historical data and previous experience in managing elections in the country. The table below shows historical-comparative costs and estimate of what the upcoming referendum may cost:-
The above table shows that the Country spent Kshs.10 billion in conducting the 2010 referendum, under the Rt. Hon Raila Odinga’s watch as the Prime Minister, a fact conveniently forgotten. The cost per voter then was Ksh.794. At the time, these figures never attracted offensive statements from the Rt. Hon Odinga. It is disingenuous for him to cast such aspersion without seeking clarifications from the Commission. In the 2017 Fresh Presidential Election, which is a single ballot election like a referendum; it costed the country about Kshs.12 billion.
The proposed referendum to be conducted sometime in 2021 is estimated to cost Kshs.14 billion, having factored all major cost drivers such as technology, ballot papers, temporary poll officials, and security, among others. In addition, the cost of conducting elections under the COVID-19 environment is included.
The Commission will prepare a detailed budget once it receives a notification to conduct a referendum and such a budget will be presented to relevant institutions for scrutiny and approval.
The Commission wishes to assure all stakeholders and the general public that it will continue to operate independently and shall not be subject to the direction or control by any person or authority pursuant to Article 249 of the Constitution of Kenya, 2010.