Tuesday, October 13, 2020 – Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga has been dealt a huge blow in his spirited bid for the country to hold a referendum by April next year, to expand the executive among other things.

This is after President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Government changed tune on the whole idea, saying it had no money to hold the referendum.

Through the National Treasury CS Ukur Yattani, Uhuru’s Government said it may not be possible to fund a plebiscite due to the tight economic situation brought about by the Coronavirus pandemic which has ravaged the economy.

Yattani is also opposed to the Presidential Election Losers’ Nomination Bill, which will give presidential aspirants and their running mates automatic nomination to Parliament in the event they lost in the election.

In a report tabled in Parliament, Yattani argued that the passage of the Bill would lead to a costly referendum that the country cannot manage amid the COVID-19 pandemic and tight fiscal measures.

A month ago, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) differed with former Prime Minister Raila Odinga, who is championing reforms through the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI), over its costs.

While the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader suggested it would cost at least KSh 2 billion to conduct the universal vote, IEBC termed it “impractical”.

The elections body commissioner Boya Molu insisted it would cost at least KSh 10 billion to conduct a referendum in the country.

“I may not be able to give you exact figure but going by the last presidential repeat elections, a referendum will not cost less than KSh 10 billion,” said Molu.


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