Raila responds after IEBC said Referendum will cost Sh14 Billion

Raila spoke on Thursday

Raila Odinga

ODM leader Raila Odinga has responded after the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) said that the expected Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) referendum will cost the taxpayers Sh14 billion.

In his statement, the former Prime Minister termed the amount outrageous and a display of the IEBCs insensitivity to the changes Kenyans are asking for, in management of public affairs.

Mr Odinga pointed out that he sees no reason why the referendum should cost more than Sh2 billion, given that all other structures are readily available.

The ODM party leader noted that elections have been one of the biggest ways some individuals have used to enrich themselves, and part of the schemes being used was evident in the way the electoral body was reasoning.

Raila added that they will pick a team which will have a sit down with IEBC and come up with a cost-effective way to hold the referendum.

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.”

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