House team declares Kenya's campaign financing regulations null and void

Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) CEO Ezra Chiloba

The controversial campaign financing regulations have been declared null and void by a National Assembly committee.

This came even as the electoral body maintained that the fate of those in breach of the regulations lies with the outgoing commissioners.

The National Assembly committee on Delegated Legislation said the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) ignored Parliament before gazetting the regulations that are now the subject of a court case filed by CORD leader Raila Odinga.

Under the regulations, candidates in the 2017 elections are required to submit a list of their campaign finance management committees. The law also demands that aspirants should open bank accounts and name the people who will manage them.

The committee on Delegated Legislation questioned IEBC chief executive Ezra Chiloba (pictured) on why the electoral body overlooked legal opinion by AG Githu Muigai that the commission seeks the approval of the House before gazetting the rules.

The MPs also sought to know why the AG's opinion was sought after the gazettement of the regulations.

"As they stand today, there are no regulations on elections financing because under the Act they have not been complied with by the commission and it is important for the House to deal with the situation so that the regulations are grounded in law. We cannot apply a regulation not supported in law," said Chair of the Committee William Cheptumo.

"I can only conclude that IEBC has been mischievous. It is construed to give them a good image, but they have done a disservice to Kenyans, including condemning Parliament. They should apologise," said Daniel Maanzo (Makueni).

Raila has gone to court to seek a reversal of the regulations after he missed the deadline for submission of the requisite information on his campaign finances.

Mr Chiloba said no one would be locked out of next year's elections. He added that the law does not define the consequences for a breach. He said the decision is one of policy and will be decided by the commission.

"I'm advised that is a policy decision that has to be made by the commission. What I can do is to go back to the commission, before we are able to provide any information... since the commissioners are still in office, they still give us policy directions," Chiloba told the committee.

Under the Election Campaign Financing Act, IEBC was supposed to gazette the rules in August, but this was done in December.