Former Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu and his Nairobi counterpart Mike Sonko are permanently barred from holding public office, the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission has confirmed.
Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) boss Twalib Mbarak said the body has a constitutional responsibility to advise on integrity compliance status of all election candidates.
“EACC advises that all persons offering themselves as independent candidates or seeking party nominations for election must meet the integrity threshold under Chapter 6 of the Constitution,” he said.
Governor Waititu was kicked out of office after the Senate upheld his impeachment by the Kiambu County Assembly on claims of gross misconduct and abuse of office. Mike Sonko was also impeached by the Nairobi county assembly and was subsequently upheld by the Senate on similar charges
Chapter 6 prescribes the standards of leadership and integrity for public office, requirements which are further amplified by the Leadership and Integrity Act, 2012.
Compliance with Chapter 6 of the Constitution is a mandatory requirement for appointment or election to public office.
Mbarak reiterated that a person is disqualified pursuant to Chapter 6 of the Constitution, if they have 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.
Further, he said, any person 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 6 as contemplated under Articles 99(2)(h) and 193(2)(g) is also disqualified.
“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,” he said.
Mbarak added that any person otherwise found by the Commission to be in violation of Chapter 6 of the Constitution also remains disqualified.
The EACC boss said it they will conduct integrity vetting of all candidates in the upcoming by-elections and communicate its determinations to IEBC for further action.
“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,” he said.
He reminded Kenyans 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.