Judiciary onlyhope for Kenya
By Anne Wanjiku
The promulgation of the new constitution spelt out a new dawn in Kenya. Or did it? Hypothetically, it did. This very same constitution contains the vital Chapter Six which clearly outlines matters of leadership and integrity.
As we approach the general elections, articles 73 - 80 of Chapter Six seem to be contravened.
Recently, a case was brought before the High Court of Kenya questioning the suitability of the two Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyattta and Eldoret North MP William Ruto who are facing charges at the International Criminal Court to run for the country’s top job.
The petitioners were however given an opportunity to amend their petition, which saw the inclusion of Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi,, the Prime Minister Raila Odinga and Kenya’s lastVice President KalonzoMusyoka in their case, questioning their integrity.
The inclusion of these three was however dismissed as an afterthought by the High Court, but that of Uhuru and Ruto still awaits determination.
In line with Chapter Six of the constitution, a Bill was presented to parliament, stating that for anyone to vie for a state office, he/she must present to the IEBC a certificate of compliance on integrity and ethical issues, which could only be obtained after sitting before before a panel made up of members from ethics and integrity body, human rights and gender departments. The law makers killed this proposal. Clearly, they do not want their integrity to be interrogated.
Let’s pose for a moment and ask: Why is it that Mumo Matemu, the formerly proposed head of the Ethical and Anti-Corruption Commission was dropped due to questionable integrity? Why is it that the deputy chief justice Nancy Baraza has been suspended and now faces removal due to what has been termed as gross misconduct?
The answer is that matters of ethics and integrity seem to apply only to those who hold non-elective positions and not the elected class, a position that is not what Kenyans desired when they approved the new Constitution.
As the election clock is ticking, Kenyata and Ruto have continuously stated that the Kenyan people should decide on who will lead this country, and not the ICC. Of course!.
The ICC on the other hand has made it clear that it is not in its position to decide who leads this country. Let’s face it, it is not easy for Uhuru and Ruto to be on the ballot paper. It is also, not easy for Uhuru and Ruto not to be on the ballot paper. It seems a simple declaration of the court will determine their fate. Courts seem to be the waterloo for any legislation that flies in the face of the constitution; for the threshold for leadership and integrity must hinge on the bar set by our supreme law.
Matters of integrity then, concerning state officers remain quite elusive. Chapter Six of the Kenyan constitution remains black on white, and with the judiciary sometimes being ignored by top state officers, Kenyans barely have only one place to run to so that the constitution is implemented to the letter: The Courts