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Economy

State wants political parties funding slashed

National Treasury
The National Treasury building in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The Treasury is pushing for a law change to cut the share of cash allocated the major political parties annually, saying the current quota is unsuitable.

The Political Parties Act 2011, which established the Political Parties Fund sets an allocation of not less than 0.3 per cent of national revenues collected must be allocated to political parties.

The Treasury reckons that Kenya cannot afford to cede 0.3 per cent of its revenues to the parties — currently ODM and Jubilee — without hurting counties and national government operations.

It has been allocating the fund Sh371 million each year from 2015 to date instead of more than Sh3.6 billion annually.

“In this regard, we are proposing amendments to the Act to ensure a sustainable funding model to political parties,” Treasury chief administrative secretary Nelson Gachuhie told Parliament.

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He said like Equalisation Fund and the National Government Constituencies Development Fund, the Treasury has huge arrears owed to political parties.

“It is not only the political parties’ fund that we have arrears, but we also have not been able to fully provide funds to the Equalisation Fund and the CDF due to the constraint fiscal space,” Mr Gachuhie told the parliamentary Finance and National Planning Committee on Tuesday.

He said a Bill had been forwarded to the Attorney General for the reduction of the 0.3 per cent funding threshold and discussions were ongoing with political party leadership to lower the funding to an agreeable figure.

He did not provide figures on the Treasury preferred quota.

Only parties with at least five per cent of the total votes cast at the preceding General Election qualify for government financing, according to the Political Parties Act.

political scene

This year, only ODM and Jubilee have a stake to the allocation under the Political Parties Fund in what looks set to cement their dominance in Kenya’s political scene.

Computation of a party’s performance is based on the total votes garnered in the preceding election of the president, members of parliament, county governors, and members of county assemblies.

This means that only the major parties meet the State-funding criteria, locking out several small parties that supported the big three in coalitions formed ahead of the General Election.

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