-The use of public resources for campaigns is an offence in Kenya
The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, IEBC, has warned against the use of public resources by political aspirants, especially incumbent governors, while on their campaign trails.
This comes after a group of residents from Uasin Gishu shared images of their governor Jackson Mandago, using state resources in the form of public vehicles to campaign for his re-election, under the guise of distributing ECDE construction cheques.
Mandago, who was in Turbo distributing bursary cheques and acaricides, had a convoy of over 20 county vehicles escorting Kshs 500,000 worth of cheques.
“You can now not be able to differentiate between a County officials’ forum and campaign,” said one of the residents, who witnessed the events. “All Government officers are in the field campaigning.”
Acaricides distributions and cheques to school and bursaries are now a task of the Uasin Gishu county leadership with county staff mandated to ensure they are all on the campaign trail vouching for the incumbent.
Former ECK Commissioner, Jack Tumwa, says that when public servants are deeply involved in campaigns and using public resources, they are setting the stage for unfair elections.
“Courageous people must bring this to a halt so civil servants serve all parties without bias…,” said Tumwa.
Governors control billions of shillings and exercise considerable power. They have been getting almost Sh10 billion from the Treasury every financial year for four years. Many have become very wealthy in the first four years of their terms.
However, residents of Uasin Gishu are demanding that Mandago reveal how he spent the county’s Kshs 4.5 billion, which was revealed from the Auditor General’s report as part of the unexplained expenses.
The governor has refused to explain the circumstances under which the billions went missing, but he still went ahead and requested a supplementary budget of Kshs 500 million, which has since been denied.
Mandago is facing stiff competition from his opponents on the ground and has resorted to defeatist tactics such as blaming his main rival for stoning his campaign vehicles, accusing his opponents of poor academic credentials, as well as falsifying media reports that they are out of the race, in a bid to secure the nominations ticket for himself.
However, just recently, the Jubilee party dropped the use of smart cards, which Mandago was banking on to rig his way into being the main candidate for the party’s gubernatorial race seat.
Mandago had spent Kshs 3 million on purchase of the smart cards, which he now cannot use.