POLITICAL NEUTRALITY

Not bad Chebukati changed his mind

In Summary

• UDA politicians have complained that Cabinet Secretaries should not be campaigning for Raila Odinga

• The IEBC boss appears to agree today but in 2017 he said that CSs were free to campaign

IEBC chairperson Wafula Chebukati during an engagement forum by IEBC and faith-based organisations on September 22, 2021.
IEBC chairperson Wafula Chebukati during an engagement forum by IEBC and faith-based organisations on September 22, 2021.
Image: FILE

The IEBC chairman is under fire for saying that Cabinet Secretaries should not campaign because in 2017 he said the opposite, that they were free to campaign.

This is unfair. There is nothing wrong with changing your mind so long as it is principled.

Chebukati was responding to UDA complaints about Interior CS Fred Matiang’i and ICT CS Joe Mucheru being part of  the multiagency team planning the 2022 elections.

Matiang'i, Mucheru and several other CSs have made it clear that they are supporting Raila Odinga and President Kenyatta in the run-up to the August 2022 election. They argue that CSs are free to campaign because they are political appointees – unlike civil servants.

However the 2010 Constitution envisaged a technocratic Cabinet where CSs were non-political and focussed only on performance and delivery. That should not be abandoned.

Chebukati obviously has had a rethink. In 2017 he thought it was OK for CSs to campaign (partly because the Supreme Court in 2013 ignored that conflict of interest) but now he has decided that it is not acceptable. That is his right.

CSs should remain politically neutral because they play a key role in organising elections.

Quote of the day: "Nothing in this world is harder than speaking the truth, nothing easier than flattery."

Fyodor Dostoevsky
The Russian novelist was born on November 11, 1821