The Purpose of the Political Parties Fund

The funding for political parties in Kenya is important in enabling them to play a role in the political process. How the political parties are funded determines their ability to run campaigns and routine activities.

Political parties funding in Kenya can play a crucial role. It can limit the influence of private funding influence thereby limiting corruption. Moreover, public funding of political parties presents a level playing field.

Section 23 of the Political Parties Act establishes the Political Parties Fund that forms the basis for political parties funding in Kenya.

The Political Parties Fund was established with the aim to entrench democracy in Kenya.

The Registrar of Political Parties should administer the Political Parties Fund.

Sources of political parties funding in Kenya

How are political parties funded in Kenya? The sources of the Political Parties Fund are—

  • funds not less than 0.3% of the revenue collected by the national government as Parliament may provide; and
  • contributions and donations to the Political Parties Fund from any other lawful source.

The balance of the Political Parties Fund at the end of the financial year should be retained for the purposes for which the Fund is established, subject to any law relating to public finance.

The Political Parties Fund should be distributed as follows—

  • eighty per cent of the Fund proportionately depending on the total number of votes secured by each political party in the preceding general election;
  • fifteen per cent of the Fund proportionately to political parties qualifying above based on the number of candidates of the party from special interest groups elected in the preceding general election; and
  • five per cent for the administrative expenses of the Political Parties Fund.

A political party should not be entitled to receive funding from the Political Parties Fund if—

  • the party does not secure at least three per cent of the total number of votes at the preceding general elections; or
  • more than two-thirds of its registered office bearers are of the same gender;
  • the party does not have, in its governing body, representation of special interest groups;
  • the party does not have at least —
    • twenty elected members of the National Assembly;
    • three elected members of the Senate;
    • three elected members who are Governors;
    • forty members of County Assemblies.

The “office bearers” means the national and county officials elected or nominated by a political party in accordance with the party’s constitution.

For purposes of these two sections (mentioned above)-

  • eighty per cent of the Fund proportionately by reference to the total number of votes secured by each political party in the preceding general election; and
  • the party does not secure at least three per cent of the total number of votes at the preceding general elections; –

the total number of votes secured by a political party should be computed by adding the total number of votes obtained in the preceding general election by a political party in the election for the President, members of Parliament, county governors and members of county assemblies.

Other sources of political parties funding in Kenya

The sources of other funds for a political party in Kenya are—

  • membership fees;
  • voluntary contributions from a lawful source;
  • donations, bequests and grants from any other lawful source, not being from a non-citizen, foreign government, inter-governmental or non-governmental organisation; and
  • the proceeds of any investment, project or undertaking in which the political party has an interest.

A foreign agency, or a foreign political party which shares an ideology with a political party registered in Kenya, may provide technical assistance to that political party.

Technical assistance should not include the provision of any assets to the political party.

A political party should disclose to the Registrar of Political Parties the full particulars of all funds or other resources obtained by it from any source.

Purposes of the Political Parties Fund

The political parties funding in Kenya should be used for purposes compatible with democracy. The purposes of the Political Parties Fund include—

  • promoting the representation in Parliament and in the county assemblies of women, persons with disabilities, youth, ethnic and other minorities and marginalised communities;
  • promoting active participation by individual citizens in political life;
  • covering the election expenses of the political party and the broadcasting of the policies of the political party;
  • organising civic education in democracy and other electoral processes by the political party;
  • bringing the political party’s influence to bear on the shaping of public opinion; and
  • administrative and staff expenses of the political party which should not exceed thirty per cent of the sums of money allocated to the political party:

Not less than thirty per cent of the sums of money allocated to a political party should be used for promoting the representation in Parliament and in the county assemblies of women, persons with disabilities, youth, ethnic and other minorities and marginalised communities.

A political party should not use the sums of money allocated to the party for any other purposes other than those specified in the Political Parties Act.

The sums of money allocated to a political party from the Political Parties Fund should not be used—

  • for paying directly or indirectly remuneration, fees, rewards, allowances or any other benefit to a member or supporter of the political party, other than a member of staff;
  • to finance or as a contribution to any matter, cause, event or occasion directly or indirectly in contravention of any code of ethics binding on public officers;
  • directly or indirectly for the purposes of establishing any business or acquiring or maintaining any right or financial interest whatsoever in any business or in any immovable property; or
  • for any other purpose incompatible with the promotion of multiparty democracy and the electoral processes, or with the Constitution.

For more about the political parties funding in Kenya and the Political Parties Fund, see Part 3 of the Political Parties Act.

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George Githinji

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