, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 1 – Aspirants for political office have until Wednesday next week to conduct their last harambee or risk being disqualified before or after the 2017 election.
National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi guided the House that the election date is officially set for August 8 according to the 2010 Constitution. Therefore the eight-month cut-off date takes effect at midnight on August 7, 2016.
“Honourable Members, a quick calculation reveals that the eight month period contemplated in Section 26 of the Election Act 2011, begins to run as of from the December 7, 2016. I trust that you will be guided accordingly even as discharge your noble public duties and attend to the needs of your constituents,” the Speaker said in his Communication to the House.
“The only exempted collection that they may participate in is one intended to raise funds for themselves or for the funding of their political parties.”
The Elections Act 2011 prohibits anyone aspiring for political office from participating in fundraising eight months before the election.
This applies to all levels of office from President, Governor, Senator, Member of the National Assembly, County Woman Representative to Member of County Assembly (MCA).
The political aspirants in the 2017 polls are banned from attending harambees for funerals, weddings, school fees, development projects or any other fundraiser that is not directly connected to politics.
The aspirants are however free to organise a fundraising to raise money for their own campaigns or for their political parties.
Clause 26 (1) of the Act provides that, “A person who directly or indirectly participates in any manner in any public fundraising or harambee within eight months preceding a general election or during an election period, in any other case, shall be disqualified from contesting in the election held during that election year or election period.”
The ban on harambees was introduced in the Act before the 2013 General Election after some MPs complained that their rivals were embarrassing them by contributing huge amounts of cash just before an election.