Why partners in PNU may miss State funds
Published on October 8, 2007, 12:00 am
By Peter Murigi
Affiliates to the Party of National Unity (PNU) that will not field parliamentary and civic candidates risk missing out on funding from the Treasury.
The new Political Parties Bill makes it clear that only parties that sponsor candidates in elections would access the money.
This could be part of the explanation PNU partners are in a dilemma on whether to go to the General Election under the coalition.
“If a party wants to access funding, it must field parliamentary and civic candidates,” said Kabete MP, Mr Paul Muite, whose Administration of Justice and Legal Affairs departmental committee moved the amendments to the Bill.
Were the PNU affiliate parties to dissolve, it would mean that only the coalition would attract funding from the Exchequer.
|Kanu delegates during a recent meeting when the party endorsed its membership to President Kibaki’s Party of National Unity. Coalition parties risk missing out on funding from the Treasury if they fail to field parliamentary and civic candidates.
The money will be allocated proportionate to the number of votes cast for each party at the presidential, parliamentary and civic elections.But where several parties are sponsoring one presidential aspirant like the PNU, the candidate’s votes would be disregarded when determining the amount of money each party would receive.
“Funding will be based on the votes cast for parliamentary and civic candidates,” Muite told The Standard.
His party, Safina, is among PNU partners sponsoring their own candidates while supporting Kibaki for the presidency.
PNU comprises several political entities, chief among them Ford-Kenya, Narc-Kenya, Ford-People, Democratic Party, New Ford-Kenya, Safina and Kanu.
The Bill further requires that a party’s national office bearers reflect gender equity.
The proposal, which had remained on the Parliament agenda for more than 15 years, was passed with amendments agreed through compromise and goodwill from both sides of the House.
Yesterday, Muite expressed optimism that the President would assent to the Bill since it sailed through Parliament without controversy.
Once the Bill becomes law, he said, it would become operational next year, immediately after the December General Election.
Justice and Constitutional Affairs minister, Ms Martha Karua, who also supported most of the amendments on behalf of the Government, gave a similar pledge.
Other key provisions of the Bill is the establishment of a powerful Disputes Tribunal to resolve post-election crisis to forestall a scenario similar to the one that hit Narc when President Kibaki failed to honour a secret pre-election memorandum of understanding.
Under the law, the instruments of coalitions would be deposited with the Registrar of Political Parties, whose office would operate under the Electoral Commission of Kenya.
Other crucial provisions include the criminalisation of haphazard defections and a penalty of Sh15,000 or two-year jail term for those caught disrupting their rivals’ political rallies.