MONEY AND POLITICS: THE CASE OF PARTY NOMINATIONS IN KENYA. INTRODUCTION The impact of money on politics is unquestionable. The availability or otherwise of money has enormous influence on the conduct and nature of general elections in all democracies whether consolidated or transitional. It is now common knowledge that elections have become very costly not only to the governments that have to manage them, but also to the political parties and individual candidates. The high costs of elections have direct bearing on two ingredients of electoral democracy, namely, popular participation and fair contestation. Indeed, it has been argued that the large sums of money spent in elections have had tragic effects on democracy including deterring citizens from political participation.1 There is also the danger that as elections become more expensive and campaign spending increases considerably, effective participation will be absent from the election campaigns. This is likely to lead to the poor losing confidence in the efficacy of their contribution to the democratic process.2 Another effect is that when elections become expensive, fund raising becomes the preoccupation of politicians thereby distracting them from public policy making and their role as trustees of public interest. The role of money in politics is a major concern, for any nation that adheres to democratic tenets. This raises concern because wealth creates unequal opportunity for participation.3 The source of funding itself is also a vexing issue, given that corporate funding of the political process generally increases non-participation in self-governance; it can be said to have the perverse effect of minimising democracy and promoting the inevitable elite plutocracy. However although it is evident that the cost of elections is high there is lack of comprehensive data showing, on the one hand, what the political parties and their candidates spent in any given election, and on the other hand, what state organs responsible for the management of elections spend. Parties are reluctant to expose their expenditure data, whether this is for presidential, parliamentary or sub-territorial elections. Since the process of electioneering is a multi-activity undertaking by political parties, it requires heavy financing which in turn influences electoral competitions and outcomes. However, if only certain groups donate and only a select few receive money, then the electoral marketplace becomes limited to only those with means to gain entry. In addition, the buying of votes as well as unethical receipt and expenditure of funds, can have a corruption influence in the governing process. The end result is that under such circumstances money can lead to negative consequences such as decreased competitiveness and corruption.4 In this handbook we concentrate on the impact of money in party nominations since the return of multi-party politics in Kenya in 1992. In particular, we address the implications of the various modes used by parties and individuals in financing their respective party nominations and how this affects the broader democratisation process in Kenya. CAMPAIGN AND PARTY FINANCE Political financing broadly defined includes finance of party activities in elections and during nonelection periods.5 It can also be described as the funds received and spent by political parties and candidates in election campaigns. Such campaign as envisaged in this definition includes both party
and individual campaigns since both need resources.6 Political finance is therefore both the object and result of political processes. The funding of parties and campaigns is determined by policy decisions of politicians. In new democracies, it must not be treated solely as a problem but a means to create a basis for democratic government. The challenge therefore is to find the best way of matching the need for sustainable financial base for the parties with the wider public interest of curbing or...
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