IEBC decries lack of funds for preparation of 2022 elections

Thursday, October 8th, 2020 16:40 |
IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati at a past press conference. PD/FILE

Lack of adequate funding will derail crucial activities which will scuttle preparations for the 2022 General Elections, electoral commission has said in annual report to Parliament.

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has decried that key undertaking that will ensure the agency delivers an election outcome that is temper proof has continued to stall less than two years to the next polls.

In its annual report for 2019/2020, IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati reckons that Parliament and the National Treasury have starved the commission of funds leading to its activities either stalling, delaying or failing to take off.

In what will raise eyebrows of the polls team preparations, Chebukati has cited audit and maintained of election technology, continued voter registration, voter education and awareness as some of the activities that have been affected by lack of budgetary provisions two years to the high stakes polls.

The chairman disclosed that the commission is unable to audit the controversial technology it used in 2017 and it plans to reuse in 2022 polls.

“The commission has continued to maintain the KIEMS kits, Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) a System and Wide Area Network to enhance their re-usability in future elections,” the IEBC boss said.

“However, the commission has been unable to conduct the statutory audit of technology due to inadequate budget allocation,” Chebukati said in the commission’s annual report for 2019-20 laid in the senate on Tuesday.

Last month, the polls team floated a tender document, for auditing its voter registration system and servers in what is the first step in actualizing its plan to reuse 2017 materials in the 2022 polls.

“The service provider will be required to carry out a complete investigation and diagnosis of the BVR servers’ infrastructure and storage hardware and submit a status report,” the tender document read in part.

The IEBC bought the Sh4 billion Kenya Integrated Election Management System (Kiems) for voter registration, identification, results transmission and candidates’ management plan.

It did not pay for the voter registration option but instead used the BVR kits procured in 2013.

In the current financial year, the commission received Sh4.66 billion from the National Treasury.

Of the allocation, Sh1.11 billion was used to settle pending bills.

The IEBC boss said in the report that electoral agency urgently needs moneys to clear audited pending bills which stood at Sh3.12 billion as of June 30, 2019.

“The commission therefore appeals to parliament and the National Treasury to provide funds for electoral activities throughout the electoral cycle,” Chebukati said in the report tabled by Senate Majority leader Samuel Poghisio.

In 2020-21, the electoral agency was allocated Sh4.4 billion for its routine activities and Sh259 million for the boundary review.

Chebukati further disclosed that the global Covid-19 pandemic greatly impacted the poll’s team activities which necessitated scaling down of activities including continuous voter registration, voter education and outreach, by-elections and boundary review.

“The outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent government measures to curb the spread of the virus affected the commission’s programmes and activities,” IEBC acting CEO Marjan Marjan held.

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