Why printing the IEBC voter register costs Ksh.80M
There was shock and disbelief on Wednesday after the electoral commission said that printing a copy of the voters register would cost a whopping Ksh.80 million.
This was after the Supreme Court granted a plea by petitioners in the ongoing presidential election petition to have a certified copy of the voters register as they seek to prove their case that there was manipulation in the number of votes cast in the October 26 election.
IEBC agreed to comply with the order but the commission’s legal team submitted to the court that it would cost Ksh.80 million to avail a certified copy of the voter register.
So how on earth would the cost of printing the 450,000-page document cost Ksh.80 million; an equivalent of almost Ksh.200 per page?
This was the big question Kenyans were left asking considering the conventional printing price is Ksh.5 or Ksh.10 utmost.
Unbeknown to many, lawyers have a billing system of certification that is approved by the courts and remember the voters register is not your ordinary document that you would rush to the nearest stall and have printed or photocopied.
For the commission to avail a hard copy of the register to any party, it has to be printed and not photocopied.
Further, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) insists the register has to be printed in a factory for the process to happen within the shortest time possible as directed by the court.
“To comply with the court order, the exercise (printing the register) should be done in a factory. But if we are to do it other way, then the exercise will take about two weeks,” IEBC submitted, though lawyer Fredrick Sisule.
Citizen Digital has learnt that billing for printing the voters register is done per words and not per page. The cost is Ksh.25 for every folio of 100 words and one page could have up to five folios.
As per this form of billing, the cost of printing a page of the voters register could be Ksh.125 with the ultimate cost depending on the total number of folios in every page.
Assuming every page of the 450,000-page voters register has five folios of 100 words each, this means the cost would be 450,000 multiplied by Ksh.125 bringing the total sum to about Ksh.56 million.
Speaking to Citizen Digital, Lawyer Charles Kanjama explained that the electoral commission will have to pay a lawyer to certify each and every page of the 450,000-page document.
According to Kanjama, the cost of certifying a document varies from Ksh.100 to as high as Ksh.200 and IEBC seems to have settled on certifying every page of the voter’s register.
“If you want certification on every page so as to authenticate contents on every page, in that case every page becomes a document and you have to stamp page by page. It is very easy to see a lawyer charging a Ksh.100 to certify every page,” Kanjama explained.
Kanjama noted that IEBC might have settled on a cost of Ksh.200 for the printing and certification of every page which would bring the total cost to Ksh.90 million and perhaps received a Ksh.10 million discount to scale down the cost to Ksh.80 million.
Nonetheless, a section of the political divide believes the commission inflated the cost to stifle the process of availing the register on time.
After being informed that printing the register would cost them Ksh.80 million, the petitioners softened their stand and asked to be given a soft copy of the voluminous document.
Getting a soft copy, according to a July interview with then commissioner Dr. Roselyn Akombe, costs Sh.20,000.
Chief Justice David Maraga rejected their request to have the State compiled to help them foot the colossal amount.
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