US Lobby Taps Githongo to Pick Reformist Aspirants for Funding (Business Daily – August 2)

A Washington, DC-based advocacy group is currently fund-raising to support pro-reform candidates in Kenya’s next General Election set for August 2017.

Vanguard Africa Movement has invited aspirants to apply for campaign support, which includes funding, technology platforms, strategic advice, and resource mobilisation.

The organisation said it has tasked former anti-graft czar John Githongo, who also sits on its board, to help identify, vet and recruit eligible ‘pro-reform’ hopefuls who are “committed to democracy, accountability, and transparency”.

“We are currently fund-raising for the necessary resources to do the very work you mention, both in Kenya and throughout the continent,” said Jeffrey Smith, director at Vanguard Africa Movement, told the Business Daily.

“We are certainly keen to work with pro-reform candidates in the lead up to and during the 2017 election, but have no set agreements with anyone just yet. John Githongo, however, sits on our advisory board and will likely be a big help there,” he said.

Mr Githongo, a former Transparency International boss, worked as Permanent Secretary for governance and ethics in the Kibaki administration before fleeing Kenya to the UK in 2006 after blowing the whistle on the Anglo Leasing scandal.

Vanguard said the decision to recruit and fund political candidates in Kenya and across Africa is premised on the fact that ‘visionary leaders often lack the resources and know-how to successfully compete against entrenched political forces.’

Kenya’s Election Campaign Financing Act (2013) allows candidates and political parties to raise cash for campaigns from individuals, private companies, organisations, and harambees among others.

Organisations seeking to finance candidates in Kenya need to register with the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), according to the law. 

Prohibited sources of political campaign cash include foreign governments and State-funded corporations.

The IEBC in April published regulations meant to operationalise the financing law.

The rules provide a framework for IEBC to monitor and regulate expenses, and for reporting of campaign expenses by political parties and candidates for elective seats.