Of late Parliamentarians have been acting in an undignified manner. Relevant Constitutional offices and institutions need to check Parliamentarians behavior to remind them the offices they hold require high integrity and good behavior at all times.
The recent behavior of Hon. Alfred Keter in which he used his office to abuse public officers and demand release of a truck owned by Hon. Sunjeev Birdi which had been lawfully held for lack of proper documentation is a case in point. The behavior of Senator Stephen Ntutu and MPs, Richard Kenta, Patrick Ntutu, Johana Ngeno and Korei Lemein was not only unfortunate but dishonorable in leading a protest which had been banned by the Cabinet Secretary for Interior.
The actions of these state officers are not in isolation. Many others have acted in similar manner in the past but nothing has been done to discipline them. They seem to believe that they are either above the law or the law does not apply to them. This is contrary to reality.
This breach of Chapter six of the Constitution and the Leadership and Integrity Act, 2012 cannot continue unabated. These state officers have an obligation to promote Constitutionalism as the public expects them to exercise their mandate in a manner befitting of the positions they hold.
Their behavior – as the Constitution Implementation Commission (CIC) has noted – needs to bring honor to the nation and dignity to the office and promote public confidence in its integrity. Unfortunately, their actions are contrary to these noble provisions.
Article 75(2) of the Constitution makes it mandatory that a state officer who contravenes the above provisions is subjected to applicable disciplinary procedures and may be dismissed or removed from office. If a state officer is dismissed or removed from office, they are disqualified from holding any other state office. Subjection to disciplinary procedures is not selective or elective but mandatory under the Constitution.
First, the Powers and Privileges Committees of Parliament must reign in their behavior. This committee oversees the behavior of MPs and Senators inside and outside Parliament and needs to be seen to be worthy the powers vested in it.
Secondly, the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) must also come in strongly to investigate and recommend to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) their prosecution for gross misconduct.
Thirdly, Political Parties who send these members to Parliament should also send the right message to the Country by disallowing and punishing its errant members.
It was on the basis of chapter six that in January 2012, the then Deputy Chief Justice Nancy Baraza was required to vacate office for allegedly acting in a manner inconsistent with her State office.
Chapter six requires state officers to maintain fidelity to the Constitution as it sets a high bar for the conduct of State officers. This is not a favor but an obligation which they must comply with and where they do not, disciplinary institutions must take action.