MPs summon CS Yatani over funds for political parties

Treasury CS Ukur Yatani

Treasury CS Ukur Yatani addresses the media in Nairobi during the signing of a Sh1.3 billion infrastructure financing agreement between the government and TradeMark East Africa (TMEA) on November 3, 2020. 

Photo credit: Lucy Wanjiru | Nation Media Group

A parliamentary committee has summoned National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani to explain why he has not been allocating enough funds required to finance the affairs of political parties in the country.

At a meeting of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the National Assembly, chaired by Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi, it was unanimously resolved that Mr Yattani be called to explain why the parties’ kitty continues to be underfunded contrary to the law.

“We need to get an explanation from the National Treasury for failing to disburse the required amounts to the political parties’ fund. We will not allow him to bend the law as he wishes,” Mr Wandayi said.

Section 24 (1) of the Political Parties Act provides that at least 0.3 percent of the revenue collected at the national level as audited and approved by the National Assembly, be allocated to the political parties’ fund annually.

The law goes on to state that 95 percent of the amount is to be shared equitably among the qualifying parties with five percent financing the operations of the Office of Registrar of Political Parties (ORPP) that manages the fund.

The law

However, despite being bound by the law, the National Treasury CS has used his own discretion “which does not exist in any law” to allocate a lesser percentage to the parties.

The underfunding by the National Treasury saw Raila Odinga’s ODM party awarded by the High Court Sh4.1 billion, the share of the amount it was entitled to from 2013 to 2016.

The court judgment is, though, yet to be complied with despite numerous requests.

“The Political Parties Act is a law that was passed by this House. The National Treasury CS has a duty to tell this committee and the entire country whether the provisions of the law on the parties fund exist to be violated at will,” said Mr Wandayi.

If the law were to be followed, about Sh4.1 billion should have been allocated to the parties fund in the current financial year.

Though the committee members tried to put the Registrar of Political Parties (RPP) Anne Nderitu on the spot for failing to ensure that the fund gets its statutory share, she reminded them that it is actually their role to ensure that state agencies are sufficiently financed.

“As an office, we have never achieved what the Act provides. But we seek to continue pronouncing ourselves to the law. We always seek your support whenever we come here,” Ms Nderitu, who was appearing before the committee, said.

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