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Limit use of State resources in politicians’ campaign entourage

By The Standard | Published Tue, June 13th 2017 at 00:00, Updated June 12th 2017 at 23:36 GMT +3

Enforcing provisions of the Elections Offences Act as campaigns for the August elections gain momentum is proving tricky. In particular, the provisions on the use of public resources is littered with many grey areas. For example, the law states that candidates should not use public resources to advance their political agenda during campaigns. Yet the same law demands that the State provides security to all presidential candidates.

The contention is that public-funded campaign trails accord the incumbents undue advantage against their opponents. Taken at face value and in spite of the 2010 Constitution, it is easy to accuse not just President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto of misusing State resources, but also all the 47 governors.

What of the armoured top-of-the-range SUVs in their entorouge? The airlifts? Or the heavy security details and the amenities paid for by taxpayers?

Does Raila Odinga, a former Prime Minister, also enjoy State largesse as well? What of Kalonzo Musyoka, a former Vice -President? Complaints about misuse of public resources are genuine, but arguably, hard to enforce. For example, since there cannot be a vacuum in leadership, where do we draw the line between President Uhuru Kenyatta and Mr Uhuru Kenyatta?

Simply put; Mr Kenyatta cannot abdicate his responsibilities as the Head of State and Commander in Chief simply because he is campaigning as a Jubilee candidate and neither can his security be jeopardised for the same reasons. He must therefore continue to enjoy all the benefits accruing to that office until he leaves office.

One way of maneuvering the lacuna created could be an ammendment to make the provision practical. Like say; when a function is purely a party affair, there ought to be a limitation of the number of State vehicles, State officials and security detail accompanying and assigned to all State officials.

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It is the politicians’ extravagance witnessed during such functions that draws public anger. And rightfully so.