Former Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu has been dealt a huge blow in his bid to replace impeached Nairobi County boss Mike Mbuvi Sonko after the Ethics and Anti-corruption Commission (EACC) clarified that ousted leaders can not hold public office.
The Senate upheld Waititu’s impeachment in January this year after Kiambu Members of County Assembly voted to impeach him on grounds of gross misconduct, abuse of office and graft.
Yesterday, it emerged that the former governor is among leaders who have thrown their hats in the ring to succeed Sonko who was kicked out two weeks ago on similar charges that he faced early this year.
Waititu, who has a pending graft case in court, said that he had already presented his papers to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) as an independent candidate ahead of the by-election scheduled for February 18, 2021. He argued that he has a right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty.
But in a statement issued on Tuesday night, EACC Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Twalib Mbarak said leaders who have been removed from office for contravening Chapter Six of the Constitution of Kenya that touches on integrity will not be cleared to vie for any seat in the upcoming by-elections.
“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. EACC has a constitutional responsibility to advise IEBC on the integrity compliance status of all candidates pursuant to Chapter 6 of the Constitution, ” the statement reads.
“EACC considers that a person is disqualified pursuant to Chapter 6 of the Constitution if the person: i) 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; ii) Is found, in accordance with any law, to have misused or abused a state office or public office or in any way to have contravened chapter six as contemplated under Articles 99(2)(h) and 193(2)(g).
“For 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 or any written law; iii) Is otherwise found by the Commission pursuant to its mandate under Chapter 6 of the Constitution, to be in violation of Chapter 6 of the Constitution.”
Mbarak said EACC will conduct integrity vetting of all candidates in the upcoming by-elections and communicate its determinations to IEBC for further action.
“In addition, EACC calls upon all Kenyans to take up and effectively discharge their constitutional responsibility in accordance with their sovereignty provided under Article 1 of the Constitution. Voters should strive to elect men and women of integrity. Whereas EACC and other law enforcement agencies are tasked to vet candidates for integrity suitability, the ultimate and most effective vetting is vested in the citizens’ unfettered powers to cast votes and freely elect leaders of their choice, ” the CEO said.
“Kenyans are reminded that entrusting the management of public affairs to persons with questionable integrity will only entrench corruption and impunity at the expense of much-needed transparency, accountability and good governance. It is our duty to elect persons of integrity as the surest way to bolster servant and transformative leadership that will in turn build a corruption free society.”