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Raila welcomes controlled spending ahead of polls

Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga has welcomed the ceiling on election campaign financing but faulted the electoral commission for publishing the rules without consulting political actors

The commission last month published the 2022 general election financing rules in which it capped the financial spending for presidential candidates to Sh4.4 billion while those of political parties at Sh17 billion.

The rules further require political parties and candidates to open campaign financing accounts, financing-expenditure committees, and appoint authorized persons who will manage campaign funds, at least two months before elections.

While delivering an online public lecture at the University of Nairobi on Tuesday, the former Prime Minister said the commission had failed to explain how it came up with the figures.

The lecture, the Youth and Challenges of Nationhood in Kenya, was organised by the Department of Political Science and Public Administration and was moderated by Professor Fred Jonyo, who is the chair of the department.

“Capping financial spending is good for democracy as it seeks to limit corrupt money from interfering with the electoral process,” Mr Odinga said, in response to a question from a student who wanted him to give his opinion on the rules.

“But I don’t know how the commission came up with the figures. There is no formula and they have not explained how they computed,” he added.

He however did not say whether his contention is whether the amount is lower or higher, only revealing that commission has not explained the formula it used to arrive at the figure.

“The figures are arbitrary and unreasonable.”

Mr Odinga’s position is in line with that of MPs who have rejected the financing rules, arguing that they were not formulated in a transparent manner.

The lawmakers have accused the Independent Commission of submitting the spending caps to Parliament late to avoid scrutiny.