ODM party leader Raila Odinga has strongly opposed the projected Sh14billion budget for the forthcoming Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) referendum.
According to the former prime minister, the referendum cost estimate by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) is outrageous and it should not go beyond Sh2 billion.
Odinga accused the IEBC of impunity and plotting to loot public funds.
“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,” Raila said Thursday.
Mr Odinga promised to pick a team that will help IEBC develop a cost-effective budget for the BBI referendum.
“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,” he said.
IEBC had attributed the Sh14billion cost to the 19.6 million voters in the IEBC register.
“We have already sat down and asked ourselves what is required for a referendum. Our budget was coming to Sh14 billion though we are still fine-tuning it,” said IEBC acting CEO Hussein Marjan.