The Kenyan public is no stranger to political u-turns on implementation of constitution, particularly when the provisions of the constitution are politically inconvenient for the MPs i.e. the date of the next election, the 2/3 gender principle, MPs setting their own salaries. On one particular constitutional provision, however, there have been so many twists and turns that at this point the prospect of effective implementation seems like wishful thinking. The controversy laden provision is on leadership and integrity and the vetting of the election aspirants to see if they meet the leadership and integrity criteria as set out in Chapter 6 of the constitution.
In light of the enactment of the weak mutilated Leadership and Integrity Act – in which the Cabinet and MPs removed provisions for the vetting of election aspirants by state agencies – the announcement made earlier this week that more than a dozen state agencies and independent offices would be undertaking a process that would ensure the vetting of all aspirants intending to run for elective positions in the next election was a welcome one.
According to an article in the press 8 state agencies (The Commission on Administrative Justice, the Commission on Revenue Allocation, Kenya National Commission on Human Rights, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, the Commission on Implementation of the Constitution, The Judicial Service Commission and the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission) stated their intention to compile a information on all the candidates seeking elected positions in the 2013 election. The aim of the exercise being to review the candidates’ ability to meet the leadership and integrity standards set out in Chapter 6. They would then submit the list to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission to make a review on eligibility of the aspirant based on available information.
As one would expect the move by the state agencies to vet all the aspirants running for elective positions in 2013 drew almost immediate response from various quarters, and not without result.
Less than a week after the initial statement was made the state agencies seem to have flip-flopped on their stated intention to vet all candidates for elective positions. From an article in the Standard it appears that the vetting process will now exclude all those aspirants who have a pending court cases; the vetting processes will also exclude those with cases before the International Criminal Court (ICC).
In a perfect world it would be presumably because the integrity of those with pending court cases including those with cases at the ICC has been so called into question that there should be no issue of whether or not they are eligible to run for elective positions, let alone for the position of President.
However this is not the explanation proffered by the agencies that will carry out the vetting. It would interesting to know why the multi-agency vetting would exclude from its vetting process those election aspirants with pending courts cases, particularly those with cases at the ICC, your thoughts?