Proposal to include more political parties in fund share
As members affiliated to Nasa tussle over their share of the common fund advanced to them by the Treasury, the registrar is proposing that the formula should be revised to accommodate more parties.
Ms Anne Nderitu said more parties benefiting from the fund is good for the country’s nascent democracy. “It is the wish of our office that more parties benefit from the kitty. We could expand the formula to include more vehicles, but this can only happen if the criteria is reviewed and approved by National Assembly,” she said.
Given that only Jubilee and ODM parties benefit from an allocation the Treasury releases in financial quarters, many parties with reasonable representation in Parliament and county assemblies rely on member contributions to run their affairs.
But Jubilee vice chairman David Murathe warned of a great risk in opening it up, saying briefcase parties would find their way back into mainstream politics.
“If you lower it too much then I could also register my party in order to benefit. The point is, let us learn to nurture parties into formidable institutions. Democrat and Republic parties in the US are some of the best examples we can emulate. The criteria currently in use was agreed on by an interparty team,” he said.
Ms Nderitu said: “So far this year, the parties have been given money in two tranches. Jubilee getting Sh120 million and ODM Sh56 million."
By the end of the fiscal year, the two shall have pocketed about Sh371 million with the office of the registrar retaining five per cent for administration.
In July, National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi ordered that the two parties be given Sh3 billion this financial year.
The figures from Ms Nderitu’s offices show this has not been complied with.
Mr Muturi’s directive was based on a court ruling that political parties be given what belongs to them legally. “What we need to appreciate is what is contained in section 24 of the (Political) parties Act and articles 91 and 92 of the Constitution relating to political parties formation and funding. The reason they are funded from the exchequer is because they are recognised as public institutions of public governance,” Mr Muturi said.
A few days ago, Ford-kenya party leader Moses Wetang’ula aimed at ODM, the dominant Nasa partner from which came the presidential candidate in last year’s General Election Raila Odinga.
“Queens or Kings, Wiper, Ford-kenya and ANC must and will get their share of the PPF (Political Parties Fund). Those wailing louder than the bereaved were nowhere when we were staking out our all for Raila. Bure kabisa (nonsense)," Mr Wetang’ula fired at ODM party in a tweet.
ODM is standing its ground that they will not be compelled to share the cash. “We will not be thrown into historic hyperbole. Such vitriol can only come from a First Year student at the university,” the party responded. Secretary-general Edwin Sifuna said they would be dictated to on how to spend the money.
But it also emerged that Wiper, ANC and Ford-kenya had not formally complained to the registrar over the fund.
“This has to be brought to us formally by way of writing and not in the media like we have seen in the case of Nasa. None in the Nasa coalition has written to us to complain,” the registrar said.