Alarm as campaign cash Bill stalls
Posted Thursday, September 20 2012 at 22:30
What proposed law seeks to do
- Place a cap on the amount of money a politician can use in an election.
- Harsh penalties for those who infringe on financial rules during campaigns.
- To bridge the funding gap between political parties, curb corruption, limit the influence of special interests.
- Force parties to be accountable to members.
Parliament has delayed passing a crucial Bill to control campaign expenditure, raising fears of another round of excessive use of money in next year’s elections.
The Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution (CIC) questioned the delay, stating that the Campaign Financing Bill was a key law in the election campaigns which have intensified ahead of the March 4, 2013, polls.
CIC chairman Charles Nyachae said they submitted the Bill to the Attorney General’s office six weeks ago and debate on the proposed law should have started.
“It is not clear why there is a delay in the passage of the Bill. This is a vital piece of legislation as far as the electoral process is concerned. Delaying undermines the very electoral process,” he said on phone.
As he spoke, the Constitution Implementation Oversight Committee (CIOC) declared the Bill should be passed before MPs take a break.
CIOC chairman Abdikadir Mohamed spoke of “man-made barriers” being placed on the path of enacting laws which were sensitive to the political elite.
“There is concern that there could be man-made barriers blocking enactment of crucial laws such as the Campaign Financing Bill. This is a crucial law and we have strongly advised the House Business Committee not to adjourn the House until it is passed,” he said.
The importance of the proposed law came to the limelight last week when the Global Commission on Elections, Democracy and Security chaired by former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan warned that use of uncontrolled and undisclosed funds in campaigns posed a threat to the credibility of elections.
In their Deepening Democracy: A strategy For Improving the Integrity of Elections Worldwide report, they warned that criminals were using their deep pockets to influence the outcome of elections in some countries. They called for rigorous regulation of the use of funds in campaigns.
“Uncontrolled, undisclosed and opaque political finance poses a fundamental threat to the integrity of elections. This means that low-income voters have less and less influence over political outcomes. In order to halt these corrosive effects on the integrity of elections and democratic governance, democracies must regulate rigorously and control political finance,” the report says.
The Bill seeks to clean up elections by eliminating bribery of politicians by tycoons and other special interests in an election.