Inside IEBC’s Sh44bn bill for the August General Election

Voter listing

Kenyans queue to register as voters in Eldoret, Uasin Gishu County, on November 1 last year.

Photo credit: Jared Nyataya | Nation Media Group

 The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission has budgeted for a possible re-rerun of the presidential election this year.

This is a complete departure from the 2017 race when the agency was caught flat-footed and unable to finance a runoff between ODM leader Raila Odinga and President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Details of the cost of the election are contained in a Sh44 billion budget for the August 9 General Election, which will be financed by public funds, appropriation in aid and development partners.

The finer details of the country’s election financing are contained in the 2022 pre-election economic and fiscal report that National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yattani submitted to Parliament last week.

While still staggeringly expensive compared to comparable jurisdictions, this year’s elections allocation is marginally lower than the Sh49.8 billion spent in the 2017 General Election while still covering the cost of a possible rerun.

“The actual conduct of the General Election involves activities of undertaking the election including Presidential run-off should need arise and the swearing in of the elected leaders,” the Treasury document states.

Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition’s Raila Odinga and Kenya Kwanza’s William Ruto are the leading presidential contenders in this years polls.

The 2017 allocation, the highest ever in the country’s history, did not include the cost of the October 26 fresh presidential election after the Supreme Court nullified the outcome of the August 8 election. In the ensuing fresh election, IEBC spent Sh10.3 billion.

Article 138 of the constitution provides that if no candidate receives more than half of all the votes cast in the election (50 per cent plus one vote) and at least 25 per cent of the votes cast in more than half of the 47 counties, a fresh election shall be held within 30 days of the General Election.

In the event the Presidential election result is disputed and the Supreme Court invalidates it, a fresh election shall be held within 60 days.

In the Treasury document, the provision for a re-run has been made, but the Treasury has not unbundled the cost. The cost of the election includes the swearing in of the elected leaders – President and his deputy, 47 county governors and their deputies, 416 lawmakers in the Senate and National Assembly and over 1,450 members of county assemblies.

Of the allocated amount, IEBC will directly control Sh42.57 billion, slightly higher than the Sh40.24 billion the commission had announced as its election budget in August last year. About Sh1.7 billion is in indirect financing through government ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) that are critical in the conduct of the elections.

“In view of fiscal constraints, MDAS involved in the conduct of the 2022 general election have been advised to rationalise their activities and to fit within the available resources,” said Mr Yattani.

He added: “The MDAs will be required to ensure prudence through efficiency and effectiveness to realise value for money in undertaking the electoral activities.”

The government has maintained that its key objective is to ensure a free and fair electoral process and smooth transition to the next administration by focusing on maintaining peace and security.

The government has also affirmed that it will continue to monitor and address challenges that may disrupt the elections by monitoring the drought situation in some parts of the country and threats to security.

This comes against a global economic outlook that remains uncertain due to the Russia-Ukraine war and challenges brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.

 At least Sh22.1 billion, about 50 per cent of the funds has been allocated and disbursed in the current financial year to the IEBC and MDAs.

The balance of the financing, Sh22.06 billion, will be allocated once the ongoing budget making process for the next financial year, 2022/23, is complete.

The MDAs set to play a leading role in the elections include the Ministry of Interior, Office of the Registrar of Political Parties (ORPP), Judiciary, Executive Office of the President and the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC). Others include the Ministry of Defence and the Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA).

Some Sh20.99 billion has been used by the commission to finance mass voter registration, voter register verification, nomination of candidates’ registration, planning meetings, commission’s normal activities voter education and diaspora voter registration among others. 

The Sh21.69 billion to be allocated once the budget for the 2022/23 financial year is concluded, will finance purchase of election materials, diaspora polling activities, General Election activities and training of polling officials, among others.

The Ministry of Interior has been allocated Sh500 million in the current financial year for the deployment of adequate security personnel during the election period, specifically in identified hotspot areas.

The ORPP has been allocated Sh453.4 million, which includes Sh384.02 million in the current financial year and Sh69.4 million in the 2022/23 financial year. The Judiciary has been allocated Sh260.2 million, which includes Sh156.1 million in the current financial year and Sh104.1 million in 2022/23.

The Office of the President will get Sh200 million in the next financial year for the assumption of the office activities, including preparations for the swearing in of the President elect after the August elections. This is to ensure a smooth transition to the next administration after the elections.

The EACC has been allocated Sh58.5 million – Sh18.7 million in the current year and Sh39.8 million to be allocated in 2022/23. The Ministry of Defence has Sh100 million in the current financial year while IPOA has a total of Sh32.9 million – Sh12.9 million in the current year and Sh20 million in the new financial year.

Other than enhancing security before, during and after the elections, the Interior ministry is also charged with responsibilities that are indirectly related to the General Election. They include national cohesion and reconciliation management, citizenship and immigration, registration of persons and management of refugees. 

During the August elections, the state department for Interior will continue to provide security in the country and at the polling stations during the actual polling day.

“Due to the heightened activities in the run-up to the elections, including campaigns and nomination of candidates by the various political parties, there is need to enhance security operations against any disturbances and, therefore, the need to ensure security of our citizens is not compromised as they exercise their constitutional rights,” the Treasury document states.

The Judiciary is crucial in the election process through hearing and determination of electoral disputes.

Already, the government arm has established the Judiciary Committee on Elections to advise on legal and administrative arrangements for efficient election dispute resolution and capacity building of judges, judicial officers and staff.

There is also the Political Parties Dispute Tribunal (PPDT) under the Judiciary, which hears and determines disputes within political parties.

Of the amount allocated to the Judiciary, Sh95.8 million will go to the Judiciary Committee on Elections to train judges, judicial officers and staff, Sh84.34 million to the PPDT, Sh20 million for the renovation of the main courtroom of the Supreme Court, Sh20 million to the Court of Appeal and Sh40 million to the High Court.

The allocation to the ORPP will be for the purpose of regulating, monitoring, investigating and supervising political parties to ensure compliance with the law, administer the political parties fund, facilitate the availability of party membership lists and maintain a register of political parties and their symbols.

The EACC allocation is in preparation for the expected increase in the level of activities in line with its mandate to safeguard public resources at risk of misappropriation and embezzlement due to the anticipated transition both in the national and county government levels.

“During the electioneering period, there is anticipated a surge in corruption activities and unethical conduct requiring immediate intervention and proactive investigations by the commission,” states the Treasury document.

Key among the mandate of the EACC in the elections is the pre-election monitoring and investigation of bribery incidents, which has been allocated Sh4 million and development of a database for state officers Sh4 million, among others.

The allocation to the Ministry of Defence is critical to protect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country against external aggression.

This is to enhance security operations along the borders and other identified hotspots to ensure elections are not affected by external security threats.

IPOA is essential in investigating police misconduct, monitoring and investigating policing operations and deployment, among others. 

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