Impasse over special team Sh19.5b 2022 polls budget

Thursday, November 25th, 2021 07:15 | By
Ballot boxes. PHOTO/PD/file

The multi-agency special team on election preparedness tabled a Sh19.5 billion budget, which is said to have been rejected by the National Treasury during their meeting on Tuesday.

The agency that brings together Ministries of Interior, Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and National Treasury, Attorney General, Inspector General of Police, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), Attorney-General ,National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC), the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) and the Judiciary.

The team is expected to guide inter-agency contingency planning to ensure free, fair, and credible general election are conducted.

Well prepared
Sources at the Tuesday meeting told People Daily that the police department tabled a budget of Sh5.8 billion, Judiciary (Sh5.1 billion) while the IEBC said it will require Sh7.1 billion.  Other agencies such as the Council of Governors and Registrar of Political parties said they will require Sh1.5 billion.

The team that held its second meeting on Tuesday is expected to meet again on Tuesday next week, following the impasse, to further discuss the budget and come up with guidelines on what is required to hold free and fair elections and in a safe environment.

It has also identified the challenges likely to be faced before, during and after the elections and is already working on measures to put in place to deal with such challenges. The session was chaired by the Chief Justice Martha Koome and was attended by representatives from the IEBC among other officials.

Koome however acknowledged that there were issues with the proposed budget and the team agreed to meet later to address the issue.

“Technical team will guide inter-agency contingency planning to support the IEBC in conducting free, fair, and credible general elections. We all have something to do for the elections to be free and fair. None of us alone can deliver that mandate,” Koome said.

The Judiciary said they had prepared a budget and that part of it was to ensure that issues disputes are resolved objectively, timely and impartially. The team had identified the to handle disputes in a timely and objective manner given their complexity and sensitivity.

Judiciary has already established the Judiciary Committee on Elections (JCE) to serve as the focal point for the Judiciary’s preparation to handle its EDR mandate.

The Interior ministry on the other hand has also said they are well prepared to facilitate security and work closely with the IEBC to ensure that the elections are conducted in a safe environment.

Special courts
As a result, a total of 5,500 officers and 300 cadets will be deployed to maintain law and order.

The Judiciary is also expected to establish five special courts in Nairobi, Mombasa, Nakuru, Eldoret and Nakuru to handle hate speech cases as the country gears up for the 2022 general elections.

Koome has cautioned political leaders against hate speech and urged the public to stand against the vice regardless of their political affiliations.

The CJ further told the multi-agency team that given, the expectation of a rise in the number of election disputes in the 2022 elections cycle, the Judiciary Committee on Elections (JCE) have planned to train 120 Judges, 480 Magistrates, and 400 Judicial Staff, a number that will competently handle any surge in the number of disputes lodged in the courts.

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