NO POWERS

No law compels us to bar politicians with integrity issues – EACC

Mbarak says it is not easy to measure the reputation or integrity of an individual using paperwork

In Summary

• Mbarak said Chapter Six of the Constitution does not provide for a law that compels the agency and others to bar anyone from contesting.

• Mbarak said the agency does not give clearance on who is fit to run for an elective seat or not. 

A file photo of EACC headquarters in Nairobi.
A file photo of EACC headquarters in Nairobi.
Image: FILE

The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission has said it cannot bar politicians facing integrity issues from running in August polls.

The anti-graft agency said there is no law in place they can apply to stop politicians from contesting.

Commission chairman Twalib Mbarak said Chapter Six of the constitution does not provide for a law that compels them and other relevant state agencies to charge or take any action against such politicians.

“It only gives us moral guidance rather than legal when dealing with such cases,” he said.

 “When politicians realised it was a rope to hang them, they diluted it and this was the genesis of the problem we are facing today on the issues of integrity.”

Mbarak was speaking during a radio talk show on Thursday.

He said it is not easy to measure the reputation or the integrity of an individual using paperwork but “by seeing it on the ground”.

Mbarak said the agency does not give clearance on who is fit to run for an elective seat or not. It also does not have the powers to stop an entity from clearing one to run for a particular seat, he said.

“What we only do is, we ask people to fill a self-declaration form, stamp it, give them one copy and retain the other. We then key in their details in our online record system so that when information is required of them we search and provide,” he said.

Early last month, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission said it will reject the candidature of any person who is not qualified or eligible for election under the constitution, the Elections Act, 2011 or any other written law.

Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji said members of the National Assembly are reluctant in passing laws that allow them to enforce and have such individuals stopped hence “there is nothing we can do.”

Haji said it was up to Parliament to come up with laws so that those with questionable character are barred. “We need to go a step further and have provisions that state that whenever you are charged you ought to step aside until you are cleared.”

He said there are no laws that govern the vetting process for individuals eyeing elective seats, as it is amorphous.

Haji, however, said one may be barred from office only if they have been convicted for six months and those who have been impeached cannot for vie for any elective seats in another county.

The statement by the two officials deals a huge blow to IEBC, which was hoping to net and curtail some individuals intending to run for various seats.

Haji said beginning next month, the ODPP will begin sensitising communities across the country on their rights, so they are aware of the consequences of taking bribes during the elections.

Edited by A.N

“WATCH: The latest videos from the Star”