Lobbyists want all politicians vetted ahead of August polls

Lobbyists want all politicians vetted ahead of August polls

The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) wants politicians eyeing various elective seats vetted and those found unfit to hold public office barred from contesting.

According to the Commission, a majority of aspirants who have been cleared to contest cannot pass the integrity test as they are ‘tainted’.

“Chapter six of the Constitution is clear on who should hold a public office, but politicians have continuously been dishonest to comply,” KNCHR Vice Chairperson George Morara said yesterday in an interview.

Morara held that the rulings by the High Court on vetting of candidates seeking political office was never clear but a determination by the Supreme Court will help the electoral commission in clearing the aspirants.

Civil rights groups have moved to the Supreme Court seeking clarification on standards and merits to be used to scrutinize aspirants for the different political positions.

The KNCHR Vice Chairperson said the Attorney General’s working group should consider the ethical standards in the vetting.

“We are going to the Supreme Court on the 21st of next month. We will be given directions on the way forward, although, in our case, we have sought for the ethical standard to be used,” he said.

He said it was unfair that ordinary Kenyans applying for jobs must go through stringent ethical procedures, but rules are bent when politicians are seeking elective positions.

Morara held that the same criteria used for normal job seekers should be applied to politicians and state officers.

“For a Kenyan to get a job he/she must get clearance from the police, higher Education Loans Board, Credit Reference Bureau, EACC among others and we cannot subject them to such a rigorous process and leave politicians just like that,” he reckoned.

Morara cited the expulsion of former Deputy Chief Justice Nancy Baraza from the Judiciary and Kabete MP Ferdinand Waititu’s move to seek the TARDA Chair position as examples of how ethical standards could be used to vet candidates in key positions.

“We need credible leaders and we should hold them to account and as such we want all of them subjected to ethical vetting in all key areas where appointive or elective” he said.

On the other hand, KNHRC has called on IEBC to hasten the process of cleaning up the register so that Kenyans can have faith in it.

The Commission said in 2013 there were challenges over ‘multiplicity of registers’ saying that Kenyans were looking forward to open, fair and credible election and cleaning up of it was one of the factors.

“The register has some two million voters who due to attrition and other factors have died and this is what we want cleared before the general election,” KNCHR officials stated.

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