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Economy

New Bill seeks to bar MPs from harambees

National Assembly
National Assembly. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

All Members of Parliament and County Assemblies risk a Sh800,000 fine for participating in fundraising (harambees) under a proposed law that seeks to curb corruption.

The Bill by Ndaragwa MP Jeremiah Kioni bars the legislators from taking part in harambees throughout their elected stay in office which is at least one term of five years.

The Public Fundraising Appeals Bill also directs that anyone wishing to conduct a harambee must apply for a licence at the respective county at least 21 days before the fundraiser in the stringent proposed law that will for the first time regulate harambees.

“An elected or nominated Member of Parliament or of a County Assembly shall not participate in a fundraising function or conduct a fundraising appeal during his or her term as a Member of Parliament…A person who contravenes the provisions of this section shall be liable to a fine not exceeding eight hundred thousand shillings,” reads part of the Bill.

MPs have in recent years pushed for salary increments, citing pressure from constituents demanding harambee contributions.

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The timing of the Bill, hardly three years to the next general election, is however suspect as critics believe some legislators could be seeking to avoid being ranked on personal contribution to community projects.

Still, a section of politicians have raised eyebrows with their “generous contributions” to churches running into millions of shillings, with allegations that they use the church to cleanse proceeds of graft.

The Catholic Church early this month banned cash donations from politicians and said the contributions can only be through mobile money transactions or cheques.

Mr Kioni says the proposed law will repeal the Public Collections Act of 1960 that he adds lacks robust legal architecture to guard against use of harambees to cleanse proceeds of corruption.

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