Renowned banker and multibillionaire philanthropist Dr James Mwangi has reportedly pledged to fund William Ruto’s 2022 presidential campaign to the tune of a staggering Sh10 billion with himself as running mate, in what promisesto be a sprawling political campaign never seen before in Kenya.
The revelations Mwangi had also been nominated as Ruto’s running mate have thrown a spanner into the works of the Kenyatta succession in the vote-rich Mount Kenya region. Potential candidates have been alarmed by the development and President Uhuru Kenyatta is himself spending more time in the region as he seeks to sway his own succession.
As a front runner to be named Ruto’s biggest catch out of Mt Kenya region, banking mogul Mwangi is out to ensure Ruto sweeps Presidency in style and to use that victory assert his own influence in Mt Kenya political leadership.
In order to ensure opponents like ODM’s Raila Odinga are soundly defeated, the Equity Group CEO think tanks have divided the country into regions with each of Kenya’s ten regions supposedly earmarked with a campaign budget outlay of Sh1 billion.
Mwangi’s donation is expected to go towards paying for mainstream and digital ads, grassroot mobilisers, hire of helicopters and high tech campaign vehicles, media and digital influencers and to fund periphal candidates who will run on UDA ticket in regions where Ruto has no direct clout, especially Mt Kenya and Western regions which are densely populated.
In the increasingly sophisticated political campaigns, campaign financial status is a closely watched measure of viability, along with data sourced from communication centres which Ruto is reported to have already established several, with one particular one manned by foreign consultants being closely monitored by state intelligence.
Prior to the 2017 general elections, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission capped campaign spending through a gazette notice that limited funding to political parties at Sh15.03 billion in contributions with a single source limited to Sh3 billion.
At the same time, the IEBC said presidential candidates will be limited to spending Sh5.25 billion while those who run for governor/senator/ women representative seats will be allowed to spend up to Sh433 million. Aspiring MPs were allowed to spend up to Sh33.4 million while a contestant for an MCA’s seat is allowed up to Sh10.3 million.
These rules were however flouted by various candidates and 2022 will be no exception.
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