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Blow to small political parties in Kenya over funding

By Fred Makana | July 12th 2016

NAIROBI: Small political parties and those intending to form post-election coalitions will not benefit from the Political Parties Fund.

The Court of Appeal yesterday ruled that it was the mandate of Parliament to the enact legislation and regulate funding for political parties.

Justices Erastus Githinji, Wanjiru Karanja and Otieno Odek noted that the concept of funding political parties was mooted and muted in the Constitution so as to enhance multi-party pluralism with a view to fostering competitive politics.

"In our considered view, the establishment, adoption and enactment of thresholds for political party funding is a policy and legislative function. It is not the function of the courts to set thresholds for funding of political parties. This is a constitutional preserve of Parliament," the judges ruled.

The judges disagreed with the Political Parties Forum Coalition (PPFC), Muungano Party, Kenya National Congress (KNC) and one Julius Mwangi that there should be no threshold for political party funding, and that funding of political parties should be premised on the fact of registration as a political party.

The complainants filed the petition in the High Court in 2014 challenging the threshold. However, on February 4, 2014, judge David Majanja dismissed the suit. They had sued the Attorney General, Registrar of Political Parties and Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission.

After they lodged the appeal, the Orange Democratic Movement, United Republican Party, The National Alliance, Narc-Kenya and the Center for Multiparty Democracy were enjoined as interested parties.

The Political Parties Act established the Political Parties Fund, which is administered by the Registrar of Political Parties. Under the Act, the Fund shall receive not less than 0.3 per cent of the revenue collected by national government as may be provided by Parliament.

To effect the distribution of money from the Fund to political parties, the Act further provides that for a political party to be eligible for funding, it must garner at least five per cent of the total votes cast at the preceding general election.

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