PRESUMED INNOCENT

Politicians are guilty until appeals succeed

In Summary

• A judge this week said that MP John Waluke was not innocent even though he had appealed and was out on bail

• The High Court declined to release Waluke's passport so that he could join a parliamentary trip to the USA

Sirisia MP John Waluke
OUT ON BAIL: Sirisia MP John Waluke
Image: FILE

There is something fundamentally wrong when politicians claim that they are presumed innocent until the appeal process is exhausted.

They use this false assumption to stay in power and stand for election.

If a court convicts you, you remain guilty until an appeal court finds you innocent.

Otherwise thousands of jailed Kenyans who have not appealed should be  released immediately.

That is why we should celebrate that the High Court this week blocked MP John Waluke from joining a parliamentary trip to the USA. He had argued that he had been released on bail pending his appeal over his conviction in the Sh297 million NCPB scandal.

Justice Esther Maina did not buy that. She said that he did not enjoy the presumption of innocence following his conviction. She declined to release his passport.

It is now time for a radical rethink on what politicians can do after being convicted of criminal offences. The IEBC should not allow any candidate to stand for election following conviction because they are presumed guilty - even if they have appealed. If their appeal succeeds, then they will become innocent again and can stand for political office.

Quote of the day: "We have been ruled more by deceit than by force, and we have been degraded more by vice than by superstition."

Simón Bolívar 
He became President of Venezuela on October 30, 1817.