The Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) has raised alarms over what it deems as a deliberate attempt by the government to undermine multiparty democracy. ODM Chairman John Mbadi and Secretary-General Edwin Sifuna expressed concern after the National Assembly, allegedly influenced by the Kenya Kwanza administration, reduced the allocation to the Political Parties Fund by Sh867 million in Supplementary Budget I for the current financial year.

The ODM leaders argue that the reduced budget contradicts the principle of budget progression, highlighting that the allocated amount for political parties in 2023/24 is less than the Sh884.35 million received in 2022/23. The Political Parties Fund is crucial for promoting democracy, civic education, electoral processes, citizen participation, and administrative expenses for political parties.

Registrar of Political Parties (RPP) Anne Nderitu, in a document presented to the National Assembly, criticized the budget cuts, noting that they worsen an existing situation where the government has failed to comply with legal requirements for party funding. The law mandates allocating no less than 0.3 percent of the national government’s revenue share to the Political Parties Fund, but this provision is yet to be fulfilled by the National Treasury.

If the law were followed, the fund’s allocation for the current financial year should have been Sh5.3 billion. However, the approved budget in June 2023 was Sh1.48 billion, later reduced to Sh608.3 million in the supplementary budget.

ODM contends that the funding cuts demonstrate the government’s intent to undermine key democratic institutions, including parliament, the judiciary, and political parties. The party asserts that these cuts will impact vital programs meant to promote democracy and civic education.

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