Kenyan election 'to be world's most expensive'By JULIUS SIGEI | Sunday, May 20 2012 at 12:58
Kenya's general election in March next year is expected to be the most expensive in the world per head as the country grapples with high voter registration costs, administrative inefficiencies and the outright theft of funds.
Kenyan voters will vote for several layers of candidates after the country of 38 million in an August 2010 referendum passed a new constitution.
Estimates for the election recently presented by the east African country's Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) place the cost at KSh36 billion ($427 million), translating to a cost per registered voter of KSh2,000 ($25), higher than any other on record.
The polls body, which initially sought Sh41.5 billion ($493 million), has been pressing its case for funding all last week before the country's parliamentary Justice and Legal Affairs committee. But Kenyan Treasury officials have offered only KSh17.5 billion ($207.5 million), terming the IEBC's request as excessive.
A commission formed to look into the conduct of a disputed presidential election in 2007 reported that the KSh19.4 billion ($230 million) the defunct Electoral Commission of Kenya spent between the 2005 and 2008 was higher than those of “very special cases of post-conflict countries.”
The Independent Review Commission, chaired by former South African judge Johan Kriegler, placed the cost of the election per registered voter at $20.4 (or $29 per cast ballot).
Low electoral costs stand at between $1 and $3, according to the Kriegler report and are recorded for countries with longer electoral experience like the United States and most Western European countries.
Others are Chile KSh103 ($1.2), Costa Rica KSh154 ($ 1.8) and Brazil KSh197 ($2.3) in Latin America and KSh60 ($0.7) in Ghana.
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Beyond the ballot