The electoral commission and Parliament's Justice and Legal Affairs Committee have disagreed on a requirement to have all candidates in the next elections submit their campaign finance details.
Hundreds of men and women who hope to be on the ballot swamped Anniversary Towers starting Thursday to submit the information, whose requirement was announced by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) on Wednesday.
But committee chairman Samuel Chepkong’a on Friday told Nation.co.ke that the IEBC's demand is not backed by the law, suggesting that the agency could be engaging in a futile exercise.
“The requirement itself is not supported by law. It is based on regulations that have not been approved by Parliament. The requirement for people to file with the IEBC their bank account number and committees is based on no law at the moment,” said Mr Chepkong’a.
But IEBC Director of Legal Services Praxedes Tororey disagreed, saying: “All those seeking elective positions must comply with the Election Campaign Finance Act. MPs are opposing a law they enacted. The commission must use the Act as it waits for MPs to pass regulations.”
The Election Campaign Finance Act requires that candidates, their agents and political parties' campaign financing committees must be registered by the commission at least eight months before the General Election.
That was Thursday, December 8.
MPS YET TO ACT
But the Act also states that the IEBC may make regulations prescribing the manner in which records are to be prepared and maintained, among other requirements.
In its announcement on Wednesday, the IEBC said the regulations had been prepared and a draft submitted to the National Assembly on July 22.
It then admitted that the “National assembly is yet to approve the draft regulations as required by law.”
This, according to Mr Chepkong’a, is the basis of his insistence that whatever the IEBC is doing has not been approved by MPs.
“As it is, we have not approved any regulations, so the requirement that the aspirants file their committees with the IEBC is not supported by any law,” said Mr Chepkong’a.
He also added another dimension to the discussion, saying: “Secondly, you cannot be said to be participating in a General Election before you have been nominated by your party.”
This is important because those submitting information to the IEBC are only thinking about being on the ballot and are yet to become candidates, either as independent ones or nominated by a party.
Only after the nominations, said Mr Chepkong’a, would one be deemed to have become a candidate.
“That is the time you can file the requisite forms with the IEBC. The mere fact that you have participated in party primaries does not mean that you are intending to participate in the General Election because you have to be nominated,” he added.
“We are telling IEBC to ensure they comply with the law, not to require those intending to participate in the General Election in a premature manner," said the Ainabkoi MP.
"They need to wait for the Committee on Delegated Legislation to present their report for approval by the National Assembly,”
President Uhuru Kenyatta’s re-election campaign team, headed by Raphael Tuju, filed its details on Thursday.