Cash wars threaten to tear NASA apart

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Ford Kenya leader Moses Wetang’ula and Wiper boss Kalonzo Musyoka dance during a NASA rally at Afraha Stadium in Nakuru. /FILEA new vicious battle over the sharing of millions from political parties’ fund has split the Nasa coalition, spelling doom for the troubled Opposition.

Each of the four NASA affiliate parties — ANC, ODM, Wiper and Ford Kenya — want a share of the money allocated from the Political Parties Fund and keep monthly contributions from their MPs.

But in a hard tackle against partners staking a claim to the Political Parties Fund, ODM yesterday said it owes ‘no other party any money’.

“Ford Kenya is a like a slay queen insulting the spouse and then expecting to be sent rent. ODM will not give Ford Kenya even a penny. Whatever they contributed to the NASA coalition has been negated by their propaganda and slaying [sinc] with Deputy President William Ruto,” said ODM secretary general Edwin Sifuna.

The Orange party accused Moses Wetang’ula’s party of trying to make good his threats of a ‘messy and nosy’ divorce from the coalition.

“Ford Kenya has no locus standi. The money belongs to ODM and it is the party which will decide what to do with it. There is nowhere it is agreed that we share money with anybody,” Sifuna insisted.

The claim to the fund comes hot on the heels of another coalition standoff over individual members’ contributions to NASA.

The parties have written to the National Assembly to stop members’ remittances to the NASA secretariat.

Each of the coalition’s MPs contributes Sh20,000 monthly, split in half between the parent parties and the secretariat. They have directed the whole amount to be channeled to affiliate parties’ accounts to run their affairs.

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HANDSHAKE

The NASA coalition has been wobbly since the March 9 handshake with frequent squabbles over claims of unilateral decisions by ODM leader Raila Odinga and bullying of partners.

After Raila was named Africa Union envoy for infrastructure development and Wiper’s Kalonzo Musyoka picked to lead peace negotiations in South Sudan, observers have concluded that that the NASA coalition had become moribund.

Ford Kenya leader Moses Wetang’ula has declared the coalition ‘dead’ but his ANC counterpart Musalia Mudavadi insists the coalition is alive and kicking and will continue to check the Jubilee administration.

Yesterday top ODM officials maintained that the funding from the Treasury is a constitutional right after meeting the criteria set out by the Political Parties Act, 2011 and not a favour to be shared.

ODM treasurer Timothy Bosire said Ford Kenya has no claim to public funds advanced to the Orange party.

In March, Wetang’ula warned of a ‘messy and noisy divorce’ after he was hounded out of office as Minority leader in the Senate, a position he held courtesy of Nasa.

Lately hobnobbing with Deputy President William Ruto, Wetang’ula last weekend declared that he is his party’s 2022 presidential candidate.

Increasingly isolated by coalition partners in the post-handshake era, Wetang’ula said he will move to court to compel ODM to share with other partners the millions it received from the parties’ fund.

He said Ford Kenya, like other affiliate parties, was entitled to a share because of its contribution to the ODM party whose candidate, Raila Odinga, was the joint coalition presidential candidate.

“We can’t allow ODM to unjustly benefit from the proceeds of a process that we all contributed to. ODM is appropriating all the political parties’ fund being paid from the exchequer to the exclusion of Wiper, ANC and Ford Kenya,” claimed Wetang’ula on Sunday.

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He spoke after a retreat of the party’s leadership at Naivasha to strategize on how to align itself in the wake of the Raila-Uhuru handshake.

But Bosire yesterday accused Wetangula of fulfilling his promise of a “messy and noisy divorce” by clutching on straws even when well aware that his party doesn’t qualify for public funding.

“I have tremendous respect for Wetangula who appears to be an authority in law. But this time he has gotten it very wrong and wants to pursue the messy situation he promised,” said Bosire.

“We are a party with very unfriendly partners. They don’t interpret the constitution properly. I think they are pursuing something else,” he added.

Bosire said while Wetangula was claiming that he contributed to the 2017 presidential vote, the same vote was annulled by the Supreme Court while the October 26 repeat poll was boycotted by Raila.

“ODM’s performance in the last election was worse with our coalition partners because we reduced our parliamentary positions from 98 in the last Parliament to just 76. Their argument is neither here nor there,” said Bosire.

Bosire argued that by reducing the number or MPs, the net effect would be a reduction in the amount it is entitled to because calculations are based on party strength.

“I don’t see their value at all. ODM is also a victim of a messy situation. Ford Kenya should direct its concerns to the Registrar of Political Parties. We we are not the enemy,” he said.

He dismissed claims by Ford Kenya that the party had received about Sh1 billion from the political parties’ fund in the 2018/19 financial year.

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“I am the custodian of the party funds. I have not seen Sh1 billion because if I had then I could have used that money to sort out financial issues we are facing,” he said.

According to the records by the Registrar of Political Parties, ODM received Sh112,255,956.48 in the 2017/18 financial year while Jubilee bagged Sh240,375,303.52.

In the 2016/17 financial year ODM received Sh131,233,622 while Jubilee got Sh145,911,499.

The main source of the fund is the Treasury which is required to remit 0.3 per cent of national revenue.

However, parties are at liberty to collect other levies like membership fee, contributions and donations.

The law states that a political party is entitled to funding if it secures at least three percent of the total number of votes at the preceding General Election.

In addition, the party must have 20 elected members of the National Assembly; three elected members of the Senate; three elected governors; and at least 40 elected members of county assemblies.

To qualify for funding the party must also not have more than two-thirds of its registered office bearers being from the same gender.

Hence, ODM and Jubilee are the only two parties recognized in law. ODM has 73 elected MPs and 20 senators while Ford Kenya has 12 MPs and only one senator.

Wiper has 21 MPs and three senators, compared to ANC’s 13 MPs and 3 senators.

Source:The Star

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