, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 29 – Former Nairobi Mayor Geophrey Majiwa has sparked a fresh debate over interpretation of the Public Officer Ethics Act that saw him stepping aside on Thursday following his prosecution on corruption charges involving the Sh283 million cemetery scandal.
This follows the Attorney General’s interpretation of the law that “a Mayor is elected as a councilor before he is elected as a mayor and that a councillor is elected to service in a public office and is therefore a public officer for purposes of the law.”
Mr Majiwa is now questioning whether other councillors and MPs who are facing criminal proceedings should also step aside until their cases are determined.
“Can an elected Mayor or any other elected public officer (as opposed to appointed public officer) be suspended and by whom?” he wondered.
“Are members of Parliament public officers and subject to the Public Officers Ethics Act? If so shouldn’t a Member of Parliament with criminal proceedings under the Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Act also be suspended (by God Knows who) from discharging the public functions of representing his electorate pending the outcome of the case?” he continued.
Former Cabinet Ministers William Ruto and Moses Wetangula who stepped aside recently are still serving as Members of Parliament for their respective areas.
Mr Majiwa handed over the mayoral duties to his deputy George Aladwa on Friday morning.
“I wish to categorically state for the record that I have with effect from yesterday (Thursday) stepped aside from the office of the mayor of the City Council of Nairobi minimally because of the law but wholly because my conscience has guided me to do so,” he said.
Mr Aladwa said he would soon convene a full council meeting.
“We will be having a special council so that I can be sworn in as the acting mayor of the city,” he said.
Meanwhile, Kasarani Ward councilor John Njoroge welcomed Mr Majiwa’s move and said it will also serve as a warning to anyone at the council who might be tempted to get involved in shady deals.
“I think that is the end of Majiwa in City Hall or in any other public office. It is obvious since we are in a new constitutional dispensation which does not allow anybody who is corrupt to hold public office,” he stressed.
“Majiwa should look for something else to do now.”
Utalii ward councilor Wilson Ochola, on the other hand, lauded Mr Majiwa for resigning from office to allow investigations into the cemetery scandal to take place.
While terming it as the right move, he expressed confidence that the Babadogo civic leader would be cleared of all charges of corruption.
“You know you can sign so many things and sometimes when signing something, it is placed in the middle of the list and you do not see it,” he said while defending Mr Majiwa as a morally upright public official.