Treasury to spend Sh60b on Kenya’s most expensive polls

National Treasury Principal Secretary Kamau Thugge. (Photo: Wilberforce Okwiri/Standard)

The Government will spend Sh60 billion on the August 8 General Election.

That amount is almost Sh10 billion more than what was anticipated in the budget.

According to a report by National Treasury Principal Secretary Kamau Thugge, Sh9.7 billion has been requested by the Presidency, State Department of Interior and Registrar of Political Parties.

The money, including Sh22.8 million of airtime for national Government administration and Sh384 million for Assumption of Office by the next Kenyan leader, has been listed as unfunded requests for election-related expenses.

The police will get Sh1.6 billion for food rations and Sh4 billion for allowances if the request is granted.

National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC), the hate speeches’ watchdog, will get Sh670 million while the Registrar of Political Parties will get Sh527 million for verification of independent candidates, monitoring party primaries and settling disputes arising from the primaries.

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Split budget

“The General Election expenditure is being incurred during the preparation phase, the actual elections and after elections,” Dr Thugge wrote in the pre-election report.

The budget has been split between the two financial years of 2016 and 2017, with the initial budget putting the spending at Sh49.9 billion.

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) got the lion’s share of Sh42.9 billion in the two budgets, almost double the Sh24.2 billion the commission got in the 2012 Supplementary Budget for the 2013 elections.

“In the year 2017/18, the commission has an allocation of Sh19 billion comprising Sh5.6 billion for its normal operations and Sh13.1 billion for the August 8, 2017 General Elections,” said Dr Thugge.

The security budget perhaps offers a glimpse into how the Government intends to use all forces at its disposal, including ‘special officers’, to keep the peace.

“To make sure security is not compromised, the Government will enlist both current security personnel and the special security officers to be gazetted during the election period,” reads the Treasury document.

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The department has been given Sh3.8 billion in the two budgets for enhanced security operations in Lamu, Mandera, Wajir and other hot spots but is still asking for an additional Sh8.2 billion of the unfunded expenses.

National Intelligence Service (NIS) got Sh550 million to prowl the hot spots for potential security risks and to support security operations. It will work alongside the military, which has received Sh1.5 billion for operations along the borders and other high-risk areas.

The spending could fan claims by the NASA presidential candidate Raila Odinga that there is a plot by Jubilee and some top military commanders to rig the elections.

Raila said training of Kenya Defence Forces and Administration Police officers, county commanders and regional coordinators as well as recruitment of 120 military officers from each barrack and unit was going on following meetings chaired by former Chief of General Staff Julius Karangi, to aid President Uhuru Kenyatta retain power after the election.

Other allocations in the budget are for the Judiciary — which received Sh227 million to resolve disputes that will arise during the polls — and the Registrar of Political Parties (Sh229 million.) The latter wants Sh527 million more.

Sleepless nights

To process identity cards, the department of Registration of Persons got Sh537 million to acquire printing materials while NCIC got Sh410 million to ensure peaceful coexistence during and after the elections. NCIC has requested an additional Sh670.3 million.

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The Treasury was quick to point out that the elections expenditure, salary demands from health education and other personnel against revenue shortfalls is giving the Government sleepless nights.

“We must state that the challenges the Government is facing in terms of revenue shortfalls, threats to security and slowdown in the global economy cannot be understated as we endeavour to fund these activities,” wrote Dr Thugge in the report.

The National Treasury may also be forced to dig deeper into the country’s coffers if there is a run-off in the event that none of the candidates garners the 50 plus 1 per cent envisaged in the Constitution.

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