Kenya’s August elections were pretty expensive with estimates putting the total cost for the preparation and execution at 49.9 billion shillings ($480 million). It seems that Kenya’s October election will be likewise expensive after Ezra Chiloba, the chief executive officer of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) pegged the total cost at 12 billion shillings ($117 million).
In the August elections which were one of the most expensive in Africa, the $480 million was channeled into hiring personnel, procuring election materials, conducting voter education exercises and collecting and transmitting results.
Chiloba who said that the budget for Kenya’s October election would be presented to treasury officials this week said that most of the cost tabled for Kenya’s October election will go towards facilitating human resources and logistics.
It is sad that an election worth $480 million turned out to be worthless after Raila Odinga challenged the results of the polls and the Supreme Court annulled the election but it is even sadder that Kenyan taxpayers have to spend another $117 dollars on a do-over.
In the face of this extra cost, there is still lingering doubt among said taxpayers as to whether the electoral commission will indeed be able to hold a free and credible election.
There are internal struggles within the IEBC surfacing that show that the people are right to worry. For instance, a memo alleged to have come from the commission’s chairman Wafula Chebukati to the CEO Chiloba was leaked online.
In the memo, Chebukati asked Chiloba to explain why they purchased satellite phones that never worked, why hundreds of polling stations didn’t send results of the presidential election to the national tallying center, why an account created in his name was used to log into the elections management system, and why some election result forms lacked key security features. Chiloba has said that they were “looking at the issues raised in the memo and we will respond in the interest of the public.”
Of course, the campaigns of the two contenders, President Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga, will also cost money. In fact, the NASA Coalition has now resorted to public fundraising in order to fund its campaign.