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Sunday, December 5, 2021

MPs pass Bill to regulate conducting of harambees

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Fundraisers commonly known as “harambees”, may be a thing of the past after Parliament passed the Public Fundraising Appeals Bill that seeks to regulate them.

If signed into law by the President, fund[1]raisers will be controlled by the Public Col[1]lections Committee, which will be chaired by the Principal Secretary in charge of social protection.

The bill, which was sponsored by the Constitutional Implementation Oversight Committee (CIOC) chairperson Jeremiah Kioni outlaws funds drive organised by churches, schools, groups and individuals, whose purpose is not well stipulated.

Kioni said the new law provides a legal framework on how to conduct funds drive.“Organisers will now be accountable for the money they receive from such meet[1]ings. Furthermore, the law opens doors for the Auditor General to audit the funds,” the Ndaragwa MP explained.

Kioni, however, said the law would not affect personal functions but will only affect those that touch on the public.

“With the passage of the new law, harambees will now be regulated. We have introduced a level of accountability in the manner in which fund drives are conducted,” said David Sankok .

Nominated MP Godfrey Osotsi said churches and schools have misused harambees where money collected is not accounted for nor the purpose of the same made public.

For one to organise a funds drive, an application will be made to the National Committee or the relevant County Policing Authority, which will be mandated to determine or deny one the permit.

The applicant will be required to include the full names and address of the person intending to conduct the public collection and the purpose of the public collection.

According to the bill, one will be expected to give the date on which the public collection will be conducted as well as the names and contact details of the persons assisting in conducting the harambee.

Further, the applicant will give the amount intended to be raised through the funds drive, the estimated expenses to be incurred and a statement regarding whether any monies have been received with respect to the matter pertaining to the funds drive from any person prior to the proposed date.

Nyando MP Jared Okello said the new law would enhance accountability in the management of funds. “We are not stop[1]ping Kenyans from holding harambees, what we are doing is putting in place measures to enhance openness in the whole process,” Okello said.

Other members of the committee will be two persons who are not civil servants and have knowledge and experience in social protection, appointed by the Cabinet Secretary.

The Council of County Governors and Public Benefits Organisations Regulatory Authority will pick one person each.

The team will then appoint a director, who shall be the secretary to the National Committee.

The functions of the National Committee will include collaborating with the County Policing Authority in the performance of their functions, and overseeing the conduct of public collections, receive, vet and process applications for the issuance of a licence to conduct a public collection.

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