Ruto, Raila clash over Sh1.4bn Political Parties Fund
What you need to know:
- According to the Political Parties Act 2022, enacted early this year, a party can only benefit from the fund if it has at least one elected leader.
- Mr Odinga lost to Dr William Ruto, the UDA candidate in the Kenya Kwanza coalition that now claims that no single candidate was elected on Azimio ticket as they all vied under their individual parties.
- UDA chairman Johnson Muthama said the coalition can only benefit from the presidential vote if there is a signed agreement that such funds be channelled to ODM.
Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka yesterday chaired an Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition meeting on the sharing of the Political Parties Fund (PPF) amid revelations of a fresh plot to deny them millions of shillings attributed to the 6.9 million votes garnered by its presidential ticket.
The Office of the Registrar of Political Parties (ORPP) is already processing Sh1.4 billion to be shared between parties that qualify. The money will be disbursed quarterly starting next month.
According to the Political Parties Act 2022, enacted early this year, a party can only benefit from the fund if it has at least one elected leader.
Azimio coalition party only had Mr Raila Odinga and Ms Martha Karua on its ticket with parties under the coalition fielding independently for the other five elective seats.
Mr Odinga lost to Dr William Ruto, the UDA candidate in the Kenya Kwanza coalition that now claims that no single candidate was elected on Azimio ticket as they all vied under their individual parties.
The President’s, allies want the Opposition coalition denied the millions of shillings attributable to the number of votes Mr Odinga garnered in the presidential race.
“Azimio does not have a single member elected on its ticket and the law talks of a party with at least one member. It is that simple,” said Nandi Senator Samson Cherargei of UDA.
He added: “ODM as a party will get its share, just like other parties that have qualified but will lose money attributable to their presidential candidate. We told them when they were bulldozing this law that they would be the casualty of this act.”
UDA chairman Johnson Muthama said the coalition can only benefit from the presidential vote if there is a signed agreement that such funds be channelled to ODM.
"Unless there is an agreement that directs the Political Parties Registrar Anne Nderitu to channel that fund…. I do not want to go into the issue of whether Azimio deserves a share of the exchequer or not, but if the money goes to ODM, it will then be shared based on their internal agreements,” said Mr Muthama.
Yesterday, Mr Musyoka, while addressing the press on wide-ranging issues after the meeting that brought together secretary generals of parties under Azimio said the “country is witnessing incremental power grabs that needs to be stopped sooner rather than later”, without making reference to the alleged plot to starve the coalition of political parties funds.
“Personalised decision-making has the propensity to dismantle institutions and sideline competent individuals out of fear of threats to their power. It leads to full-blown dictatorships and failed states. In the end, it kills democracy altogether,” said Mr Musyoka.
There is, however, no contest on what individual parties in both Azimio and Kenya Kwanza will get based on their performance in the other elective seats.
“For a party to benefit from the PPF, it must have at least an elected representative, a two-third gender principle compliant composition of office bearers and representation of special interest groups in its governing body,” states the law, in part.
The Act also provides that 70 per cent of the fund be distributed proportionately based on the total number of votes secured by each political party in the preceding election, among other rules.
Azimio coalition has also been hit by internal jitters after small affiliate parties claimed that ODM was trying to shortchange them. The outfits cited the decision by ODM Executive Director Oduor Ong’wen to convene a meeting when he is not an Azimio official.
“The leadership of ODM should be advised to follow the right channel in matters relating to Azimio to avoid antagonising parties that are already wounded from the manner in which they were handled during campaigns. Many parties were held back at the time,” said an official of one of the parties, who spoke in confidence.
Another official of the opposition coalition, who also spoke on condition of anonymity, said: “When we heard the Kenya Kwanza coalition wanted to take an entire portion of the presidential PPF, arguing that Azimio did not win the presidency to get a coin, some of us approached the ORRP and warned them not to short change Azimio.”
Registrar of parties Anne Nderitu did not respond to our queries concerning the matter that is likely to snowball into yet another political battle between President Ruto’s and Mr Odinga’s camps, just like the battle for the Majority side in the National Assembly, which Speaker Moses Wetang’ula controversially ruled in favour of Kenya Kwanza.
The claims of internal fights have, however, been dismissed by ODM, Jubilee and Democratic Action Party (DAP-K), stating that the sharing formula had already been discussed.
The letter by Mr Ong’wen dated October 19 stated, “The office of the Registrar of Political Parties is in the final stages of releasing political party funds to the qualifying parties.”
“To this end and on behalf of the ODM party, I am extending an invitation to you as a representative of a qualifying political party under Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition to a consultative forum to be held on Friday, October 21, to discuss the fund sharing formula,” states the letter.
Sharing of funds by affiliate parties was at the heart of the acrimonious fallout in the National Super Alliance following the 2017 elections after Wiper of Kalonzo Musyoka, Moses Wetang’ula’s Ford Kenya and Musalia Mudavadi’s ANC accused ODM of denying them the funds.
The Odinga-led party would later release Sh152 million share of the cash to the parties at the height of their fallout.
Jubilee Secretary General Jeremiah Kioni said that there was a general agreement on how the funds that the coalition is set to get as a result of the presidential vote.
This, even as he dismissed the assertion by Kenya Kwanza that the coalition will not get a coin for the presidential vote. He said the coalition will get what is rightfully theirs.
“The good thing is that we had a sharing formula to avoid another scenario that happened in Nasa. We have no quarrel as coalition partners,” said Mr Kioni. He explained that the coalition is an entity with many political parties that have elected members while terming the assertion by Kenya Kwanza as baseless.
“You cannot steal our presidency, steal our votes, steal our majority leadership right in the National Assembly and now try to steal our money from the political parties' fund,” said Mr Kioni.
He added, “In a democracy, you don’t win so you vanquish our opponents through all manner of means.”
ODM chairman John Mbadi cited the recent ruling by Speaker Wetang’ula that recognised the coalition as a Parliamentary party.
Additional reporting by Onyango K’onyango and Daniel Ogetta