Law to clear air over eligibility for public office

February 6, 2012 3:03 pm


The laws will make it clear who is ineligible for public office/FILE
NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 6 – The Ministry of Justice is in the process of formulating legislation on leadership requirements as stipulated under Chapter 6 of the Constitution.

The ministry’s Deputy Chief Legal Officer John Tuta told stakeholders attending a workshop on leadership and integrity on Monday, that they already developed a draft on the principles setting out the key leadership requirements as the country prepares for the next polls.

The issue is expected to clear the air over whether individuals facing charges in court are ineligible to vie for public office.

“When you look at the qualifications for parliamentarians, issues of impeaching leaders and many others, you find that there is a lot of reference to Chapter 6,” he said.

“So we want to see what connection this Chapter has with other laws and how that connection can be used to ensure that we have the right leaders in this country,” he said.

He however observed that the drafters were yet to establish whether or not to have several legislations on leadership or merge all the rising issues into one.

Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister Mutula Kilonzo took note of the bearing the legislation would have on the next elections saying it was necessary to have it in place on time.

“This law should be in place before the August deadline so that those seeking elective posts know what is required of them,” he argued.

The chairman of the Commission on Administrative Justice Otiende Amollo also called for the full enactment of Chapter 6 of the Constitution saying it would help facilitate national reforms.

He challenged the country to embrace reforms and hold their leaders to account so as to fight impunity.

“Everybody loves to read Chapter 6 but nobody wants to follow it yet it is so fundamental. In fact when you talk to some people they will tell you that it cannot be realised but it is up to us to devise how to enact it,” he said.

Constitutional Affairs Permanent Secretary Gichira Kibara reminded Kenyans of the aftermath of the 2007 elections, stating that there was need for an overhaul of all the country’s institutions as a means of ensuring that reforms were achieved.

He added that courage and honesty were some of the principles that would be set out in the new leadership legislation.

“The post election violence, poverty and land issues are all indicators that this country has a leadership crisis. There’s a crisis in the political sphere, the economic sphere and even among the civil society,” he argued.

“In fact, without external intervention we would not have come out of the woods in 2007,” he said.

On her part, the acting Secretary of the Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission (EACC) Jane Muthaura called for a Supreme Quality Bill on Leadership saying it was the only way the country would get good leaders.

She however expressed concern that there was a risk that some of the provisions in the Bill could be watered as was the case with the EACC Act.

“The quality of legislation we have on leadership will reflect the kind of leaders this country gets. And we must make sure that we fully implement this legislation,” she said.

Kilonzo further announced that he would ensure that the revised EACC Act was ready by March. The Justice Minister has in the past expressed disappointment over the current EACC Act terming it a toothless bull dog.


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