Political Financing in Africa: A Comparative Study of Kenya and Nigeria: Proposal for Reform

Okechukwu Innocent Eme, Nkechi Anyadike


The linkage between money and polities is a powerful one with implications for democracy, especially in new democracies. Political finance has been identified as a source of political corruption in several countries. Political finance laws and regulations, through which political parties and candidates for office declare their funding sources, are among the main instruments. The relationships between party financing and corruption are so significant that to ignore party funding is simply to open wide the donor for corruption. Looking into Nigerian and Kenyan political history one realizes that there is much that need to be done in this regard. This is why the financing of political life is both a necessity and a problem. The frequency with which new laws concerning campaign and party finance are enacted is testimony to the failure of many existing legal frameworks and legislations. For instance, the Electoral Acts of 2002, 2006 and 2010, the Election Campaign Financing Bill 2012, the Public Collections Act 1960 review the current status of campaign and political finance regulations in Nigeria and Kenya. The cover among other issues: the regulation, management, expenditure and accountability of election campaign funds during election and referendum campaigns. This is because hardly a month goes by without a new scandal involving political money breaking out in some in this part of the globe. Political parties constitute one of the core groups of institutions in Kenya and Nigeria’s democratic systems. The parties that emerged in Nigeria for instance, since Nigeria’s Fourth Republic, however, are characterized by undemocratic practices and exhibited gross misconducts against transparency and accountability. At their best, political parties should nurture and articulate the expression of socio-political interest and opinion. Under current Nigerian conditions, however, most political parties lack ideologies, not issue oriented, but are merely zero-issue alliances of notables who are able to control and, often enough, manipulate party structures, candidacies and even the general electoral process itself. Most parties are vehicles in the hands of few “political entrepreneurs” who invest huge amount of money and expect concurrent rewards on such investment (in the form of public works and procurement contracts, prebendal appointments of cronies to public offices and other forms of prebendal activity). The fallout has led to mass electoral/political violence and political destabilization and disempowerment of the generality of the Nigerian electors, the exclusion of alternative parties seeking to participate in electoral politics and the absence of an effective system to regulate political finance. This paper seeks to explore the concept of political finance. It will equally attempt to concisely analyze the extant legal framework regulating political finance in Kenya and Nigeria, highlight their inadequacies with a view of reforming these inadequacies for a better political finance management and best practices and proffer suggestions on the ways forward drawing freely from the instructive practices of other emerging and advanced democracies.

DOI: 10.5901/mjss.2014.v5n27p22

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Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences ISSN 2039-9340(Print) ISSN 2039-2117(Online)

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