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IEBC caps spending for aspirants in polls

Political Parties are allowed to spend up to Sh15 billion in campaigns for next year’s elections, in a new bid to control high spenders who deploy wealth to tilt the playing field.

In limits on election campaign financing published yesterday by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), candidates for President should not spend more than Sh5.2 billion.

To check party financiers onthe back of claims that shrewd businessmen and other profiteers hedge their bets on parties waiting to reap should their preferred parties seize power, contribution by a single source to a party is capped at Sh3 billion.

The highest spending cap for a governor’s seat is Sh432 million in Nairobi, with the lowest being Sh13 million for Lamu.

The most spending cost for an MP’s seat is that of Mandera South, which has been capped at Sh33.4 million and with the least expensive being Lamu East at Sh2.2 million.

IEBC has set the highest budget to campaign for an MCA seat at Sh10.3 million for Elwak South while the least expenditure is for Turbi at Sh66,883.

According to the polls body, anyone who defies the ceilings in the expenditure period of six months to the General Election risks a fine not exceeding Sh2 million or a term of imprisonment not exceeding five years or both.

“In determining the limits, the commission was guided by the political, sociological and environmental framework in Kenya, comparative experiences and all relevant laws,” said IEBC Communications Manager Andrew Limo.

The limits were arrived at after extensive consultation with stakeholders, including political parties, civil society, State agencies and the media.

“The commission, therefore, purposed to set the limits at a fairly permissive level to encourage conformity by candidates and political parties,” said Mr Limo.

The commission cited the Constitution, the IEBC Act and the Election Campaign Financing Act, 2013 for publication of the limits on contributions that a political party may receive during the expenditure period of between February 8, 2017 to  August 8, 2017.

Public funding

IEBC explained that Parliament had enacted the Election Campaign Financing Act, 2013 on December 24, 2013, but the law came into force on January 10, 2014. The capping of expenditure for elections did not, therefore, apply in the 2013 General Election.

The Campaign Financing Act has provisions for limits on contributions, expenditure, public funding, paid-up media coverage, contribution by a single source as well as reporting and disclosure mechanisms.

The Sh15 billion budget for parties covers expenditure on venues, publicity materials (information, education and communication), advertising and media, nominations (party primaries), party dispute resolutions, campaign personnel, campaign agents, election agents and transportation.

Others are administrative costs, communication, marketing (launches, research, advocacy, policy/manifesto crafting, branding ), mobilisation, security, accommodation and other justifiable expenses.

For the positions that cut across the entire county such as senatorial, gubernatorial and the woman representative, they will be allowed to spend between Sh28 million in Lamu to Sh432 million in Nairobi, the basis of computation being population and geographical size of the area.

Aspirants in Nairobi will spend upwards of Sh400 million.

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