19 March 2019

Kenya: Treasury, MPs Clash Over Release of Political Parties, Constituency Development Funds

Nairobi — The National Treasury on Tuesday conceded that it is unable to adequately allocate resources to fund various social development programmes established under the Constitution.

National Treasury Cabinet Administrative Secretary Nelson Gaichuhie told the National Assembly Committee on Finance and Planning that the delayed payment is attributed to low local revenue generation.

MPs Anthony Oluoch (Mathare), Jimmy Angwenyi (Kitutu Chache North) and Joseph Oyula (Butula) lamented about the failure of the National Treasury to release funds into the agencies for which funding provisions are out lined in the Constitution.

Oluoch initiated debate on the matter after he sought a ministerial statement seeking to know why the National Assembly had since 2013 failed to observe the 0.3 per cent rule of national revenue required to be released into Political Parties Fund.

"Why haven't you said you cannot find money to fund the CDF, why haven't you said you cannot find money to fund the Political Parties Fund or the National Government Affirmative Action Fund? You need to tell us whether there is a political decision to starve political parties of funds," he said.

To this, National Treasury CAS said the government was looking to amend the Political Parties Fund Act to lower the threshold.

"We follow all legislation passed by Parliament. But anytime that we plan we make sure that we have something, although we do not give everything in the fund, some we do and some we don't," he said.

Angwenyi on his part questioned the CAS over the casual manner he was handling the under-funding of the National Government Constituency Development Fund.

"Aren't you committing a crime with impunity, if a law says fund this agency by this much and you don't do it? Why can't you just follow the law or do you want everybody else to defy the law," said the Deputy Leader of Majority

Committee Vice-chairman Waihenya Ndirangu urged the National Treasury to adhere to the law noting that all political parties need funding to play their part in the political process, yet the role of money in politics is arguably the biggest threat to democracy today.

The Committee members now want the National Treasury to put in place measures that will ensure that the outstanding arrears are cleared in the next financial year.

"It is very obvious that Treasury is carrying forward a huge pending bill which should be paid to these organizations including CDF. Can the Treasury come up with a projection that will show they have intention of clearing these amounts that are owed to the CDF, Political Parties and any other," noted Oyula.

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