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Registrar pushes for small parties to get State funding

By Alphonce Shiundu | February 28th 2014

By Alphonce Shiundu

Nairobi, Kenya: The Registrar of Political Parties Lucy Ndung’u Thursday asked MPs to amend the law to allow small parties access to funds from the exchequer.

Speaking during a meeting with the Public Accounts Committee at Parliament Buildings in Nairobi, the Registrar also complained that the National Treasury has been frustrating her since it has never released all the money as prescribed by law.

The Political Parties Act requires that a minimum of 0.3 per cent of the national revenue should be allocated to the Political Parties Fund.

Less money

“The Treasury has continued to give us less money than what the law provides. This financial year, we only got Sh205 million which will be distributed to just three parties,” said Ndung’u.

The money will go to the Orange Democratic Movement, The National Alliance, and the United Republican Party.

The money is usually shared out proportionately according to the number of votes that a political party gets at the General Election. Only five per cent of the total allocation is retained for administrative purposes of the fund.

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Ideally, the Treasury ought to have released Sh1.8 billion given that the national revenue used were Sh607 billion.

“We appeal to Parliament to look at the law so that all the political parties benefit from this fund,” said Ndung’u.

The Political Parties Act also prohibits parties that do “not secure at least five per cent of the total number of votes at the preceding General Election” from getting any money, and that is what the Registrar asked the MPs to review.

“The MPs also have to look at the five per cent threshold,” she added.

At the meeting chaired by the Vice Chairman of PAC Cecily Mbarire (Runyenjes), the MPs said the distribution ought to be looked at so as not to stifle multiparty democracy.

“It is very important for political parties to get the full amount. If we don’t give them the money, they will not function properly. We’ll just be killing multiparty democracy in the country,” said John Mbadi (Suba).

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