Flak, praise for law that could bar ‘generous’ politicians from vying
It prohibits raising money for funerals, churches, schools, weddings, medical fees and development projects
Politicians who dish out money in fundraisers from next week risk being barred from running in the general election, according to the Election Act 2011, which has been enacted.
Some MPs are unhappy with the “controversial and unfair” law banning harambees, eight months to the general election, on grounds it “impedes the spirit of helping”.
December 8 marks eight months to next year’s August 8 polls, and any politician eyeing an elective seat will be held to account, including disqualification from contesting, when found attending fundraising activities.
The activities include raising money in funerals, churches, schools, weddings, medical fees for the sick and development projects.
Nominated MP Johnson Sakaja yesterday criticised the law, saying he will support any legislator pushing for its amendment in the House.
“This is an unfair law because it bars politicians who want to help the needy. When a politician helps through harambees, it does not mean people must vote for you or you will automatically be elected. This law goes against the spirit of helping each other,” he said.
Ford Kenya leader and Cord co-principal Moses Wetang’ula was the first senior politician to lose his Bungoma Senate seat in 2013, when Justice Gikonyo nullified his election, citing massive irregulari- ties, including claims of dishing out money during harambees to voters. Wetang’ula later recaptured the seat with a landslide in a by-election after defeating his rival Musikari Kombo.
National Assembly deputy minority leader Jakoyo Midiwo criticised President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto for encouraging harambees, instead of promoting development projects to benefit all Kenyans.
“Most of the money given out through harambees is from corruption and there should be a total ban to help fight corruption,” he said.
Kakamega Senator Bonny Khalwale said the millions of shillings given during fundraisers is looted from taxpayers’ coffers. He said MPs’ salaries alone cannot allow them to dish out millions in harambees.