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Small political parties plead for state funding

The Political Parties Liaison Steering Committee (PPLC) has called for a review of the law on political parties funding to ensure that all registered political parties benefit from the fund.

PPLC Chairman Irungu Nyakera said the formula for allocating political parties’ fund was skewed and intended to favour major parties.

He said the move was disadvantageous for small parties whose members were left out on capacity building and civil education programs on various issues within the political landscape.

“At the moment, we have only two political parties (Jubilee and ODM) that are funded and can talk. That is why we are saying for the sake of inclusivity and to defend the political pillar of Vision 2030, all registered and active parties should be funded to benefit their members,” he said adding that lack of funds has locked out small parties from actively engaging their members on the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI).

“Even though the handshake was between the two parties, this is a matter of public interest and all parties must be involved,” he said.

The PPLC, he disclosed has organized a series of meetings across the country starting next month to sensitize their members on the contents of the BBI report.

The meetings, he said, were not a platform for the PPLC to declare its stand on the document but would be used to educate Kenyans on the entire document so that they make informed decisions.

“We will be going down to the counties to speak to our members about the BBI more so on political education not necessarily saying whether we are for it or against it because each party has its own position and therefore we cannot say we have a common stand,” he said.

Speaking in Kisumu on Thursday during a forum to sensitize the 68 registered political parties on the BBI report, Nyakera welcomed the second round of collection of views to enrich the report saying it will ensure that the unheard voices are considered.

He said the PPLC presented a memorandum to the task force during the first round but their recommendations were not captured.

“Our recommendations center on politics. This is a political process and there is no way political parties can be kept out of this debate or else in the end they will disown it and say they were not involved,” he said.

Besides funding all registered political parties, the PPLC wants the number of independent candidates limited and the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) restructured.

On party primaries, Nyakera disclosed that PPLC was in the process of developing regulations to ensure they were conducted in a peaceful and transparent manner.

By Chris Mahandara and  Afreen Lalani

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