Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader Raila Odinga has faulted the electoral commission after it claimed that it needs Sh14 billion to conduct the Building Bridges Initiative referendum.
In a statement shared on his personal social media accounts, Raila said the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has turned elections into cash cows.
“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,” said Raila.
The ODM leader said that the high projection is the latest manifestation that the electoral agency needs an overhaul.
“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,” said Raila, adding, “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.
On Wednesday, the IEBC acting chief executive Marjan Hussein Marijan, told the National Assembly Public Accounts Committee (PAC) that the Sh14 billion estimates were calculated based on the 19.6 million Kenyans who are listed as voters for the 2017 General Election.
“We have an estimated budget. But the number of voters keeps on increasing because of the continuous voter registration exercise,” said Marijan.
Marjan, who appeared before PAC to answer to audit queries for the ﬁnancial year 2018/19, told MPs that the commission had already started preparing for both the referendum and the 2022 General Election through various electoral activities.
While responding to PAC chairman, Opiyo Wandayi, after he demanded to know the state of the commission’s preparedness for the referendum, Marjan, however, said the cost of the referendum would go up once they enlist more voters.