Political parties whose members elect the highest number of women, youth and the disabled in the next General Election will receive the largest share of State resources to finance their operations.
The Election Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2016 which was approved by MPs on Thursday without amendment provides that 15 per cent of the Political Parties Fund be set aside and distributed among parties based on the number of elected special interest candidates.
This means that political parties that will elect more women, youth and persons with disabilities will get additional funding from the State sponsored Political Parties Fund.
Currently, three main political parties, President Uhuru Kenyatta’s The National Alliance (TNA), Deputy President William Ruto’s United Republican Party (URP) and Opposition chief Raila Odinga’s Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) are the only parties that receive funding from the Registrar of Political Parties.
The Treasury has allocated political parties Sh370 million to finance their operations and activities in the current financial year, up from Sh367 million in 2015/16. The Treasury is projecting to allocate Sh379 million in 2017/18 and Sh384.7 million in 2018/19.
This means that political parties will be fighting to control the largest share of Sh57.7 million in the year to June 2018 being 15 per cent of the total allocation of Sh384.7 million.
Only parties with at least five per cent of the total votes cast at the last General Election qualify for government financing, according to the Political Parties Act.
Computation of a party’s performance is based on the total votes garnered in the election of the President, MPs, county governors, and members of county assembly. Fifty-six registered political entities did not get money from the kitty last year.
“Clause 28 of the Bill seeks to amend section 25 of the Political Parties Act, 2011 to provide fiscal incentives to political parties in order to assist in implementing the two-thirds gender principle.
“Fifteen per cent of the Political Parties Fund is proposed to be distributed among parties based on the number of elected special interest candidates,” the Bill says.
The Elections Act, 2011 provides that 95 per cent of the political parties fund be distributed proportionately by reference to the total number of votes secured by each political party in the preceding General Election and five per cent for administration expenses of the fund.
The Act, however, denies funding to a political party that does not secure at least five per cent of the total number of votes at a General Election or more than two-thirds of its registered office bearers are of the same gender.
In the year to June 2014, TNA received Sh89.3 million, ODM Sh87.4 million while URP got Sh28.2 million.