By Vitalis Kimutai
For politicians elections have, literally, become a matter of life and death and the candidates will try to win by hook or crook.
To make it worse, with six substantive positions to fight for in the ballot, unlike in other elections where there were just three, the stakes are much higher.
Kenyans will be voting for President, Governor, Senator, Member of Parliament, and women and county representatives.
The report by the Coalition for Accountable Political Financing (CAPF) spares no party and shows why efforts to fight corruption in Government are doomed to failure. It also lifts the lid on how unlimited spending without proper accountability unfairly tilts the outcome of the vote.
Because of the huge financial investment by candidates in elections, most inevitably use corrupt means to recoup the cash they spent on campaigns once they are elected. These include getting bribes from those bidding for State contracts.
MPs, Presidential candidates and civic leaders are bound by a common interest to ensure the fight against corruption is only paid lip service.
Elite surveys with 98 elected MPs revealed that in the 2007 elections, the highest spenders used Sh7 million to bribe voters. Those on the lower bribery scale parted with Sh2 million.
It further revealed that 20 per cent of the MPs spent Sh4 million, 18 per cent injected Sh3 million as they engaged in election
“At least 78 per cent of voters were paid money during the party nominations while reports from 70 constituencies shows the level of election malpractices was higher than that reported in the media,” the report indicates.
For instance, eight sitting MPs spent between Sh100 and Sh200 per voter in their backyards in recorded incidences of voter bribery in the last 30 days prior to the poll.
Parliamentary candidates pumped in upwards of Sh8 million into their campaigns, while monitored youths and women could only afford a maximum of Sh2 million.