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Wealthy politicians unfairly influencing polls, forum told

NAIROBI
By Charlene Nailah | November 1st 2019

The rich have been influencing the outcome of elections, a key forum in Nairobi heard yesterday.

Politicians, who spoke during the launch of a report on youth and women inclusion in political processes by Mzalendo Trust, noted that 24 counties have never elected a woman in the past four elections partly because of this discrimination. 

Kitui Central MP Makali Mulu said Kenyan politics has been defined by the wealth of an individual.

“In politics, if you have no money it’s an issue,” said Mulu, noting the deeper the pocket, the higher the chances of winning.  

Mulu argued there was need for a national conversation to discuss whether money should be a major factor in Kenyan politics as most candidates, who have the best qualities to lead, are locked out due to financial constraints.

Senator Susan Kihika, the chief guest at the launch, reiterated the need for quashing the relationship between political affairs and financial muscle.

Main challenges

She said one of the challenges hindering the representation of women and youth in the parliamentary process is the cash constraint factor.

“One of the critical key things that we probably need to have a meeting about as Kenyans is the issue of money and politics. You cannot divorce the two,” she said.

Other challenges Ms Kihika highlighted include young men and women under the age of 30 not actively seeking elective posts thus denying Parliament the diversity needed, and cultural barriers.

Kihika also raised concerns about lack of support from State and non-State institutions, biased political party nomination processes and lack of civic education.

Former Migori Woman Representative Dennitah Ghati said it was unfair to have a conversation about marginalisation without involving persons with disabilities.

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