IEBC’s Sh14b referendum budget daylight robbery, says ODM

ODM has termed persistent claims by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) that the polls agency needs Sh14 billion for a referendum a planned daylight robbery.

In a statement issued by party secretary-general Edwin Sifuna on Friday, the Orange party hit out at the commission for over-quoting the would-be cost for a referendum to get what to embezzle.

Sifuna maintained that with proper planning, the Sh2 billion quoted by party leader Raila Odinga will be enough to conduct a successful referendum.

“We heard and read that the IEBC, in reaction to Raila’s contention that it is possible to hold a referendum at a cost of Sh2 billion, has maintained that it needs Sh14 billion to conduct a plebiscite.”

Sifuna said it was high time the commission was reconstituted to cure future electoral injustices, adding that it was to blame for poll injustices during the 2017 polls.

“IEBC as currently constituted remains the elephant in the room; the black sheep of the family that everyone knows is the problem, but rarely talks about. It is therefore shocking that it can abrogate itself the responsibility of explaining problems that are its own creation,” read the statement in parts.

Sheer wastage

ODM accused IEBC of wasting public funds during the 2017 General Election in procuring and purchasing unnecessary materials which were later not used.

According to ODM, IEBC, through direct procurement awarded a contract for BVR IBM Server infrastructure maintenance and KIEMS infrastructure security monitoring solutions at a cost of Sh452 million which solution was eventually not utilised.

The Commission procured 1,694,400 security seals valued at Sh19.5 million that was never used as intended.

IEBC also purchased 149,640.5GB extra data bundles valued at S 127.6 million which were eventually not used.

Sifuna said the commission wasted a further Sh1.8 billion worth of data after failing to factor in the correct technical specification during procurement thereof.

IEBC is also accused of having incurred unnecessary legal fees amounting to Sh202 million directly attributable to the commission’s incompetence.

ODM also accused IEBC of having procured an Oracle database and security solution worth Sh 273 million which it did not use.

ODM also accused the Commission of purchasing extra 8,667 SIM Cards at Sh4 million but was which were never delivered.

Sifuna said if The Chickengate scandal is anything to go by, then it is a clear indication that IEBC overshoot the budget to leave room for theft.

“We are certain that if we left the Chicken out of the IEBC’s so-called Budget we can deliver a referendum at a cost of no more than 2B Kenya Shillings,” he said.

ODM said as one of the institutions whose lethargy, incompetence and inertia make them complicit in the shedding of Kenyan blood during the last General election, the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) must reform it once and for all.

Sifuna also hit out at IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati for rubbishing Raila’s Sh2 billion referendum budget saying the ODM leader does not make unverified statements.

“Raila is not prone to making unverified statements, and his figures are backed by science and global case studies. The commission, as we have illustrated, has been caught with its hands in the cookie jar, yet it tries to convince us the hand was trying to clean the inside of the jar!”

Raila on Thursday called for the disbandment of the commission over their projected Sh14 billion referendum budget which he termed as outrageous.

Raila said IEBC estimated cost for the planned referendum was a confirmation that elections in this country had become an avenue for a rip-off by those in charge of the electoral process.

Chebukati, however, responded to Raila’s statement unfortunate and lacks objectivity and understanding of the conduct of elections.

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