NAIROBI, Kenya Nov 2 – The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) says it is unable to comply with a court order ordering an extension of the continuous voter listing because it lacks funds to do so.
Speaking to one of the News channel on Tuesday, IEBC Vice-Chairperson Juliana Cherera confirmed that the agency had moved to court to challenge the order issued on Monday by an Eldoret based Court.
“We are currently in court so we are waiting for the ruling, because how do we say yes when we do not have the funds, that is the bone of contention,” she said.
The IEBC Vice-Chair added: “We have contracted these people and we have to pay them everyday. You cannot engage people when you don’t know whether you have money for them. You will be infringing on their rights and we have engaged them until today.”
A voter named Patrick Cherono filed an application arguing that IEBC had not met its target of registering about six million new voters. Justice Eric Ogolla issued the orders which will remain in place until November 9, when the case will be heard.
While explaining the electoral agency’s position, Cherera explained that the commission had been allocated Sh1.2 billion out of the Sh4 billion it had requested for the exercise that was due to come to an end on Tuesday. “The contracts for the temporary registration clerks end today (Tuesday), so if the Courts say we extend, we are left with the unanswered question: who is to pay them? where is the money? That is the quagmire we are in,” she said.
The Commission recently told Parliament’s Budget and Appropriations Committee that it will need an extra Sh1.3 billion to audit the voter register, and for other expenses.
According to figures released by the IEBC by the end of the third week, only 800,462 new voters had been listed against the target of 6 million for the 4-week exercise. Apathy, lack of identity cards and apparent lack of motivation, especially among the youth, have been blamed for the low turnout.