Was Kenya’s 2022 General Election the World’s Most Expensive?

This tweet claims that Kenya had the most expensive election.

Background

The exorbitant cost of Kenya’s general election has been a concern for many since the 2013 election. 

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission(IEBC) used Sh36 billion to conduct the 2013 general election which had 14.4 million registered voters. This translates to at least Sh2,500 per voter. In that election, the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission and Office of the Director of Public Prosecution probed the IEBC’s procurement process after a proposal by the Supreme Court.

In 2017, the IEBC spent a whooping Sh49.9 billion in the elections that had 19.6 million registered voters. This means that Sh2,545 was spent on every voter.

Verification

According to the IEBC, 22.1 million Kenyans were registered to take part in the recently concluded 2022 polls that were conducted by over 500,000 personnel spread across 50,000 polling stations countrywide. However, most of the costs are attributed to the added security features on election material meant to ensure a fair and credible election.

Kenya’s 2022 general election cost a total of Sh44.6 billion according to the 2022/23 Budget Statement as published by the National Treasury. The same figure is mentioned in this article by The Star. This translates to around Sh2,017 per voter.

By 2017, Kenya was spending the most money in the electoral process among African countries, both per voter and in total expenditure. This however does not necessarily mean that Kenya has the most expensive election in the world.

According to a Citizen TV analysis, Kenya ranks second globally in the costliness per voter and Papua New Guinea ranks first, spending $67 per voter. India holds the record for the world’s largest and most expensive democratic exercise consisting of more than 900 million voters in its 2019 general election. The Economic Times states that the 2019 Indian general election cost an “unprecedented $7 billion”. This is approximately Sh836.2 billion and Sh955.6 per voter.

Verdict

Claims that Kenya has the most expensive elections in the world are FALSE.

Add comment

Your email address will not be published.

Thomas Mukhwana

Thomas Mukhwana is a broadcast journalist and fact-checker. He is passionate about storytelling, sustainable development and policy in the African context.

Tracy Anne Bonareri

Tracy Bonareri is a journalist passionate about human interest and investigative pieces. A writer who hopes to change the world one word at a time.