CMD to challenge small parties’ exclusion from funding

February 6, 2014 1:48 pm
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CMD-Kenya Chairman Omingo Magara disagreed with the judgement issued by Justice David Majanja on February 3 and maintained that Section 25(2) (a) of the Political Parties Act, 2011 contravenes the Constitution/FILE
CMD-Kenya Chairman Omingo Magara disagreed with the judgement issued by Justice David Majanja on February 3 and maintained that Section 25(2) (a) of the Political Parties Act, 2011 contravenes the Constitution/FILE
NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 6 – The Centre for Multiparty Democracy Kenya (CMD-K) on Thursday announced that it would be appealing the High Court decision that locked small political parties out of the Political Parties Fund.

CMD-Kenya Chairman Omingo Magara disagreed with the judgement issued by Justice David Majanja on February 3 and maintained that Section 25(2) (a) of the Political Parties Act, 2011 contravenes the Constitution.

“The Act pronounces that you must get a minimum of five percent of total votes cast for you to access funding. But the Constitution guarantees equality and the protection of the rights of the marginalised and where there is a conflict between the two, the Constitution always takes precedence,” he argued.

Magara said CMD-Kenya will be looking for the Court of Appeal to declare Section 25(2) (a) null and void thereby declaring that all political parties should be able to access the Political Parties Fund.

“We’re not saying we want every party to receive an equal amount. We are saying we want a minimum benchmark figure of 20 percent spread across all political parties,” he said.

Toward this end he said they were also lobbying parliamentarians, especially of the three parties that currently qualify for the Fund, to amend the offensive section of the Political Parties Act.

“The biggest parties today could be the small parties tomorrow. Where is PNU today? It was a presidential party, so was KANU. So if you are making laws they must be friendly to you when you’re in power and when you’re not,” he said.

As things stand, only The National Alliance (TNA), the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) and the United Republican Party (URP) qualify for the fund having garnered 29.76 percent, 26.12 percent and 9.39 of the total votes cast in the March 4, 2013 general election.

The three political parties successfully opposed inclusion of the smaller parties in the Fund during the CMD-Kenya backed case.

“ODM welcomes the decision by Justice Majanja making it very clear that political parties are entitled to receive monies allocated to them in accordance with the Constitution and established law. In that regard the ODM demands that the Registrar of Political Parties moves with speed to disburse funds to qualifying political party accounts,” ODM Secretary General Anyang’ Nyong’o demanded following Majanja’s ruling.

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