The Star (Nairobi)

22 January 2013

Kenya: Taxpayers May Fund 2017 Party Primaries

TAX payers could be required to fund political parties nominations in the run uo to the 2017 elections if a proposal by Treasury passes through.

Finance Minister Njeru said the Treasury is considering allocating more funds to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission to conduct nominations on behalf political parties.

The minister said the just concluded chaotic party primaries are likely to dent the country's image in the eyes of foreign investors, some of who are still jittery because of the 2008 post election skirmishes. He said the nomination exercise has exposed major political parties inability to conduct free and fair primaries.

"Parties don't even have enough financial resources for nominations," said Githae, who lost the battle for the Kirinyaga governor seat on the National Alliance ticket. He was speaking at Treasury Building when he signed a Sh617 million grant with the Japanese government.

"The Treasury must also get involved in party nominations," the minister declared. "It is no longer a party issue." This proposal however needs Parliament's approval. Political parties have however already indicated a willingness to have their nominations driven by the IEBC, an indication that such a proposal may easily pass in Parliament.

The electrol body was allocated Sh17.5 billion in the 2012/2013 budget but had earlier presented a Sh31.5 billion budget for the polls. IEBC was allocated a further Sh6.7 billion in the the supplementary budget passed early this month.

The commission has been under pressure to scale down its budget, with Parliament forcing it to twice cut it down from the initial Sh41.4 billion it had requested to Sh31.5 billion.

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