The Star
The law on voter bribery
2 days ago
Earlier this month, I was in the village. It is said that Nairobi is a fast-moving city, which everyone needs a break from. Over this break, I got to see how the politicians there were conducting campaigns.

On the day I arrived, there was a huge number of people camped outside someone’s homestead. The household had lost one of its family members and was planning for a funeral. But the people were not gathered to assist with this. They were there because they caught wind that a candidate for the MP seat was coming by to make his contribution and to dish out money to voters afterwards. They camped there till midnight, when their hopes dimmed.

The next week, the deceased was buried. The MP candidate came for the funeral. I have never understood why we allow politicians to speak at funerals. They just cause chaos and digress from the programme. But since that is what is cultural, he got a chance to speak. After he spoke, he walked out and was followed by a huge crowd of people. They went to a nearby field, where he held a short rally.

He spoke a bit of what he intended to do if elected. Build roads, increase accessibility of bursaries. Then he said, “We are now heading to the segment you all love.” The crowd cheered. “Maize flour is Sh200. So, if I decide to give each of you Sh200, is there a problem?” “NOO!” they responded in unison. Then they lined up to receive the money. I found it shocking that this candidate had the audacity not only to give bribes in broad daylight but to broadcast the same.

That notwithstanding, voter bribery is not new in Kenya. Recently, a shortage of Sh200 notes was reported as they were being dished out to bribe voters. While those claims were dismissed by the Central Bank, it doesn’t change the fact that the bribery does happen. So, what does the law say on this?