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Kenyan MPs, senators and governors owe parties millions in subscription fees

By Protus Onyango and Moses Nyamori | Aug 22nd 2016 | 5 min read

NAIROBI: Elected leaders who have subscription arrears will be locked out of nominations, party chiefs have warned.

Scores of governors, MPs and MCAs have defaulted on the monthly payments that range between Sh5,000 and Sh50,000 each per month, payable to parties on whose tickets they were elected.

Party leaders have warned defaulters that they risk sanctions.

They have also vowed to raise the issue, which they deem as a violation of party constitutions, with the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) so that such politicians are not cleared to run even if they defect to other parties.

A political deal struck between President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Jubilee coalition and Opposition chief Raila Odinga’s CORD in recent talks pressed for amendments to electoral laws to block party hopping. 

It requires that amendments touching on timelines for the nomination process - there’s a proposal that nominations be done at least 60 days before polls - be concluded at least six months before the August 8, 2017, General Election.

The latest onslaught on fee defaulters is seen as part of the closing of ranks by party chiefs to rein in on rebels within the parties.

Although the President’s The National Alliance party is dissolving next month to join Jubilee Party, Secretary General Onyango Oloo cautioned: “As a party, even as we merge we are carrying our liabilities and assets into the new outfit so I don’t see them escaping.”

Wiper Democratic Movement Secretary General Hassan Omar disclosed that the party was owed Sh29 million, and warned that subscription compliance would be a key consideration while vetting the party’s aspirants.

“Anybody who has not been paying will automatically be disqualified from seeking the party ticket,” Mr Omar warned.

Kanu Secretary General Nick Salat, who said the party was owed Sh10 million, warned that defaulters would not be given nomination certificates.

“This will be among the issues we will agree on when we meet soon to review our operations. We can’t be sponsoring people who forget the party once they are elected,” Ms Salat said.

Omar, who is also the Mombasa senator, explained that governors and MPs were required to pay Sh30,000 per month respectively, and MCAs Sh5,000. Although Omar refused to give names of the defaulters terming it “an internal party matter”, an official privy to the matter named a governor and three MPs. 

Muungano party has successfully petitioned the Political Parties Disputes Tribunal to order Yatta MP Francis Mwangangi to pay the party Sh800,000 as he had defaulted since his election in March 2013.

The tribunal, headed by Kyalo Mbobu and members James Atema and Paul Ngotho, ordered that from today, Mwangangi pays the party Sh740,000 being arrears for 37 months calculated at Sh20,000 per month.

The legislator is also to pay the party a further Sh60,000 in arrears from the commencement of the case early this year.

The tribunal ordered the Clerk to the National Assembly to start deducting Sh20,000 per month until the end of the MP’s membership of the Assembly on a Muungano party ticket. The MP is also to pay the cost of the suit.

The tribunal has also ruled against MPs Victor Munyaka (Machakos Town) and Vincent Musyoka (Mwala), who are affiliated to Wavinya Ndeti’s Chama Cha Uzalendo.

The tribunal ruled on August 16 this year that the MPs first pay Sh250,000 each to the party in arrears.

The two have been ordered to pay the monthly subscription of Sh20,000 from this month until the end of their term. They were directed to present their payslips within a week to the Clerk to the National Assembly to effect the order. Given that they have defaulted for 37 months, and calculated at the rate of Sh20,000 per month, it means the two owe the party Sh1.48 million.

The chairman of Peoples Democratic Party Omingo Magara said Migori Governor Okoth Obado, Muhoroni MP James K’Oyoo and 14 MCAs have never paid the party.

“We met and they signed a contract that they will be paying but they have not. Governors are supposed to pay Sh50,000 per month, MPs Sh20,000 and MCAs Sh10,000,” said Magara.

He explained that Obado owes the party Sh1.85 million in arrears for the last 37 months. The party’s Secretary General Chris Kilonzo said the 25 MCAs owe the party Sh5 million.

Mr Salat said about 80 per cent of those elected on the Independence party’s ticket have not been paying.

“It is a big problem and our operations have been affected. We have raised it with individual members but they are not paying,” said Salat, explaining that MPs are supposed to pay Sh20,000 per month, Governors (Sh50,000) and MCAs (5,000).

Contacted, Hellen Sambili (Mogotio MP) said she was not aware they were supposed to pay.

“I have not been paying. We are six Kanu MPs in Parliament but I can confirm that we have never been called for a meeting to talk about this. We don’t know how much we are to pay. This means Salat is not doing his job,” said Prof Sambili.

An ODM MP, who was in a committee tasked to compile a list of defaulters, named nominated MPs Oburu Oginga, Isaac Mwaura and Judith Pareno among those who were on the list. Funyula MP Paul Otuoma, Kisumu Woman Representative Rose Nyamunga and Butere MP Andrew Toboso were also listed.

“Over 40 per cent of the MPs are not paying and some of them are officials,” said the MP who sought anonymity to speak freely. But Mr Mwaura and Mr Otuoma insisted they have been paying.

Budalang’i MP Ababu Namwamba said: “When I was the party secretary general, many used to pay. But it should be known that this is voluntary and members shouldn’t be coerced to pay.”

The party’s executive director Oduor Ong’wen said “subscription is very individual to members” and the party was not ready to “shout over it”.

“In any organisation there are people who normally regularise, there are people who occasionally default for various reasons and that is between us and members. We have an internal mechanism of dealing with people who are not regular in their contribution,” he said.

Oloo said TNA had written to the Clerk of the National Assembly seeking the updated record of its members’ subscription.

He said the party was owed a lot of money, majorly by its 353 MCAs.

He explained that about 90 per cent of TNA’s 72 MPs were compliant, but added that four of the party’s eight governors had not paid up.

Kajiado North MP Moses ole Sakuda said the fee is deducted from their payslips.

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