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Opinion

Forget About Capping Campaigns Expenditures IEBC Must Also Focus On The Source Of This Big Money

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IEBC Chairman Isaack Hassan

IEBC Chairman Isaack Hassan

The outgoing IEBC commissioners last week published rules capping campaign spending in the coming 2017 polls. The rules have come under scathing criticism from various political players as a ploy to auction country’s political leadership to billionaires, and indeed it looks like it. This commission has been accused of being ‘bought’ by the moneyed politicians and the coalition wing that makes the ruling regime of the day.

This was the worst last card the embattled commission would play after it lost the confidence of the opposition and public and a section of the religious leadership. When the former Chief Executive Officer of the Committee of Experts (COE) Mr Ekuro Ekuot defended the commission saying that his team keenly looked at the integrity of these individuals before giving them the job, the team forgot about integrity as a leadership value soon as they got into IEBC job.

Kenyans with real integrity who may not be billionaires or part of the ruling elites will be so disadvantaged from taking leadership of this country or running for top political offices. What remains a crucial question is what forms their opinion. The rules are so unfounded and have only been thrown out of the blues just appear to be doing something ahead of the 2017 elections that they will not conduct.

The commission has never published reports on the amount that was spent in the last elections by various political parties and candidates who participated in it. Neither have they told the nation the sources of massive campaign funds that politicians dish out and hold flashy campaigns with. All the top presidential contenders were flying in choppers branded with their respective party colours.

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When one thought the choppers would be of excellent service delivery to the people after the polls, the demise was before the first vote was cast.

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The capped amounts

As much as they are still the commissioners till the new ones are appointed, IEBC should spare the nation unnecessary drama of crowding the office with ideas that add no value but mess the electoral process more. In fact, it should fix the BVR kits that fail on the D-Day than setting rules that will not be implemented at all.

In the US for example at the federal level, campaign finance law is enacted by Congress and enforced by the Federal Election Commission (FEC), an independent federal agency. The system is open, and records are readily available of the financiers. Banks, individuals the list of contributors varies.

In Kenya its known for businessmen and big empires also foreign agencies to support a political wing with a back expectation of securing personal securities. Tax evasion syndicate and dubious businesspeople have been sponsoring candidates to score favours. Industrialist Manu Chandaria, for example, is said to have heavily financed the NYK 92 for Moi’s reelection to buy favours and continue evading taxes and so has been the case of a counterpart and BIDCO owner Vimal Shah who as of now owes the tax collector up to Sh.6B in tax arrears.

Dubious businessmen also choose on politicians to support to help hide their dirty money. With the records of financiers out there, voters can easily deduce the interests being reserved and the actual nature of candidates. Leaving the expenditure gap in billions gives room for drug lords and all the dirty dealers an excellent platform to launder their money in the name of financing candidates. It goes without mentioning that public funds are at stake and threat of being misused by those in a position of power. For integrity, we need to know really where all these billions being spent are coming from more than just how much.

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Kenya West is a trained investigative independent journalist and a socio-political commentator on matters Kenya and Africa. Do you have a story, Scandal you want me to write on? Send me tips to [in.kenyawest@protonmail.com]

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