High-tech elections are always expensive

In Summary

• The 2022 elections in Kenya cost Sh,2000 per voter compared to Sh800 in Uganda and Sh700 in Tanzania

• The international  benchmark is $5 or Sh600 per voter

Kenya spent Sh36 billion on the 2022 elections, around Sh2,000 per voter. This is considered too expensive, considering that Tanzania spends around Sh700 per voter, Uganda Sh800 and Rwanda Sh200.

There are two arguments in defence of the IEBC.

Firstly, devolution means that the Kenyan elections have more candidates than our neighbours. There are thousands of MCAs as well as governors and senators. In Uganda, for instance, there are just MPs and the President standing.

Secondly, the IEBC conducted an election generally, although not unanimously, considered free and fair. That carries a cost. Neighbouring elections are more predictable, especially for the presidency.

The 2022 election was cheaper than the 2017 election, which cost Sh55 billion, partly because of the purchase of voting technology and partly because of a rerun of the presidential election.

Nevertheless, the IEBC still needs to work on its costs. The global average is about $5 or Sh600 per voter although many of these elections are manual systems based on trust.

The IEBC can reuse its existing technology and limit handouts to government ministries but Kenya's election costs will always remain high if it wants a high-tech transparent election process.

Quote of the day: “Good leadership requires you to surround yourself with people of diverse perspectives who can disagree with you without fear of retaliation.” 

Doris Kearns Goodwin
The American historian was born on January 4, 1943

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