Political parties pay day here as Treasury opens purse

By Abdikadir Sugow

Kenya: Leading political parties will be laughing all the way to the bank with funding from the Political Parties Fund, starting this financial year.

The Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) and The National Alliance (TNA) will get the lion’s share of the payments.

The United Republican Party (URP) and The United Democratic Forum (UDF) are also in the running for a significant share of the funds.

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John Harun Mwau’s Party of Independent Candidates of Kenya (PICK), which has about 20 county assembly representatives, is also expected to secure funding. The funds will be distributed every year over the next five years.

Budget allocation

The Registrar of Political Parties, Lucy Ndung’u said the distribution of the funds would be based on the approved budget allocation and the votes garnered by each political party in the 2013 General Elections.

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The following are excerpts of an interview with Ms Ndung’u. 

Question: What percentages of the annual funding will the political parties get and what is the rough estimate for all the political parties?

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Answer: The Political Parties Act, 2011 establishes the Political Parties Fund to be administered by the Registrar of Political Parties. Section 24 of The Act provides that the sources of the Fund should not be less than 0.3 per cent of the revenue collected by the national government as may be provided by Parliament and contributions and donations from any other lawful source.

Q: What does the law say about how the funding should be distributed amongst the parties? How much will each party get and who is qualified?

A The Act provides under section 25 that the funds –95 per cent, be distributed proportionately by reference to the total number of votes secured by each political party in the preceding General Election and five per cent for the administrative expenses.

For a political party to receive the funding, then it must secure at least five per cent of the total number of votes in the preceding General Election and not more than two-thirds of its registered office bearers should be of the same gender. (Section 25 (2) –Political Parties Act)

Q Is there a restriction on how parties should use their funding or will your office or any other organ be required by the law to undertake auditing of the funds’ usage?

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A Section 26 of the Act stipulates the purposes of the fund. Monies allocated to a registered political party from the Fund shall be used for purposes compatible with democracy. These include promoting representation in Parliament and in the County Assemblies of women, persons with disabilities, youth, ethnic and other minorities and marginalised communities.

It also includes promoting active participation by individual citizens in political life, covering the election expenses of the party and broadcasting of the party’s policies.

Others are organisation of civic education in democracy and other electoral processes, bringing the political party’s influence to bear on the shaping of public opinion and administrative and staff expenses which shall not be more than 30 per cent of the monies allocated to the political party.

Not less than 30 per cent of the monies allocated to a political party shall be used for promoting the representation in Parliament and in the County Assemblies of women, persons with disabilities, youth, ethnic and other minorities and marginalised communities.

Monies allocated to a political party from the Fund shall not be used for paying directly or indirectly remuneration, fees, rewards, allowances or any other benefit to a member or supporter of the political party, other than a member of staff, to finance or as a contribution to any matter, cause, event or occasion directly or indirectly in contravention of any code of ethics binding on public officers.

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It should also not be used directly or indirectly for the purposes of establishing any business, acquiring or maintaining any right or financial interest in any business or in any immovable property or for any other purpose incompatible with the promotion of a multiparty democracy and the electoral processes or with the Constitution

Q: How do you work out the formula to allocate the funding to different parties?

A: The funds will be allocated in accordance with the votes garnered by the parties in the last general elections, meaning the disbursement is subject to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) making public the final voting patterns.

The specific amount each party will get will be ascertained once the budget for next financial year is approved.

Q: Why is your office not releasing the amount that each party will get now? 

A: This office cannot ascertain the monies each political party will get until the budget is approved. The distribution of the funds will be based on the approved allocation and the votes garnered by each arty.

Auditing accounts

Section 31(2) of the Political Parties Act states that every fully registered political party shall at the end of each financial year submit to the Registrar a register of members and a statement of assets and liabilities in a prescribed form.

The accounts of every political party are audited annually by the Auditor General and are submitted to the Registrar and tabled in the National Assembly. The Registrar may also at any time request the Auditor General to carry out an audit of the accounts of a political party.

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Treasury Lucy Ndung’u Registrar of Political Parties