NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 30 – The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) will now vet all candidates for upcoming by-elections ostensibly to block aspirants with outstanding integrity issues from seeking elective office.
The move comes just a day after former Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu declared his interest in the Nairobi gubernatorial election slated for February 18, his independent candidate symbol having been approved by the Registrar of Political Parties.
Waititu, his wife and eight county officials are facing charges in a Sh580 million graft scandal in which the family said to have received kickbacks from suppliers in the county.
The Nairobi seat was left vacant after Governor Mike Sonko was impeached over abuse of office and gross misconduct.
EACC on Wednesday said all candidates must conform to provisions of Chapter Six of the Constitution on Leadership and Integrity to secure clearance.
“The commission considers a person is disqualified from holding public office if the person has been dismissed or otherwise removed from office for contravention of Chapter 6 of the Constitution or its enabling legislation, in accordance with Article 75(3) of the Constitution,” EACC said.
Commission CEO Twalib Mbarak said the anti-graft agency will both rely on court findings and those of any competent government agency mandated to interpret or apply the law.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the finding contemplated in these clauses includes the finding of a court of law and any other competent agency mandated to interpret or apply the Constitution, ” the statement read.
It however remains unclear if EACC’s advisory is binding to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), the body mandated under the law to clear candidates for elective seats.
Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen dismissed EACC’s interpretation of the law as inconsistent.
EACC said it has a constitutional mandate to advise the electoral commission on the integrity compliance status of all candidates pursuant to Chapter 6 of the Constitution.
“EACC wishes to inform the public that while the constitutional responsibility to clear aspirants to vie for various positions lies with IEBC, EACC is mandated to enforce the provisions of Chapter 6 of the Constitution, including the mandatory integrity requirements for all candidates,” the statement by Mbarak read.
The Mbarak-led body said it will conduct vetting of all candidates in the upcoming by-elections and communicate the outcome to the IEBC.
IEBC is yet to clear candidates who have expressed interest in the gubernatorial election set for February 18.
The poll agency said it will publish, in the Gazette, the names of the persons contesting in party primaries and the dates of the party primaries within seven days of receipt of the names of the candidates.
So far exiled Kenyan-Canadian lawyer Miguna Miguna and Kimori Machoka, a former County Executive Committee Member under Governor Evans Kidero, Bishop Margaret Wanjiru have declared interest in the Nairobi Governor’s seat.