No Voter Bribery: IEBC Caps The Maximum Amount Presidential Candidates Will Spend In Their Campaigns

Independent Electoral and boundaries commission chairman Wafula Chebukati has today held a press conference and tackled various subjects ranging from the possibility of postponing the 2022 General elections, the IEBC preparedness, and the election campaign funds.

According to Chebukati, they are short of about 15 billion shillings because their budget for the 2022 elections is projected to cost about 45 billion shillings. IEBC needs those funds to enable them to prepare well for that election.

He has capped the expenditure of presidential candidates at 4.4 billion shillings and that for governors was capped at 117 million shillings.

The IEBC has gone ahead and gazetted the Election Campaign Contributions and Spending Limits for parties and candidates. Presidential Candidates may raise and spend up to Kshs. 4.4Billion. Nairobi Gubernatorial Candidates may raise and spend up to Kshs. 117Million.

Individual contributions must not exceed 20% of the prescribed spending limits. This is to avoid moneyed contributors single-handedly financing and owning candidates and creating a possibility of quid pro quo post-election corruption.

Remember, all contributions and spending can only be done by IEBC authorized Expenditure Committees. Any money raised and spent outside the Expenditure Committee is ILLEGAL and constitutes an offense punishable by a fine of up to Ksh. 2M or 5yrs imprisonment.

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The Expenditure Committees will be established by candidates upon being cleared by IEBC. It is therefore ILLEGAL to raise and spend campaign money outside the official Expenditure Period, which is the Official Election Campaign Period, commencing May 30, 2022.

There is a legitimate public interest in regulating Election Campaign Finance. While money is necessary to support candidate emergence, excessive use of money may have the twin potential of altering public choice processes and producing leaders of dubious integrity.

Article 88(4)(i) of the Constitution demands that IEBC regulates money spent by candidates in elections. Section 12 of the Election Campaign Finance Act requires IEBC to gazette spending limits. These provisions are self-executing and do not require any further Regulations.

This means Parliament cannot circumvent or subvert the law on Regulation of Campaign Contribution and Spending as they have previously argued. Parliament has always argued that in the absence of Regulations, IEBC cannot lawfully regulate campaign contribution and spending.

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Interesting to note is that Parliament has sat on draft Election Campaign Financing Regulations since 2016, and has blatantly refused to approve the Regulations as a way of defeating IEBC’s constitutionally ordained mandate. In short, MPs do not want campaign money regulated.

Happily, regulation of Election Campaign Finance is not a matter left to Parliament’s discretion to be complied with based on Members’ convenience. It is a mandatory constitutional requirement deserving of enforcement, and IEBC must enforce it even though the heavens may fall.

This is meant to bring sanity into our campaigns and elections which were in the past marred by voter bribery and violence.

Killing voter bribery will enable Kenyans to vote using their mind and not the heart. This will ensure that only good leaders will be given an opportunity to serve Kenyans at various elective positions.

We know politicians are fond of disregarding the law and it is a matter of time before we confirm if indeed what the IEBC chairman announced works.

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We all know that presidential elections are very expensive and 4 billion is just not enough. That is why Raila Odinga did not participate in the repeat elections because Nasa had gone broke.

They tried to fundraise money from their supporters but they only a few million and that was not enough to match the party that was in power.

It is rumored that the ruling party Jubilee used more than 50 billion shillings in their presidential campaigns in 2017.

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