IEBC blocks convicts, impeached leaders from August 9 polls

Former Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko and Fomer Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu outside the Anti-corruption at the Milimani Law Courts Nairobi on Tuesday, November 16, 2021 when they faced corruption charges.

Photo credit: Dennis Onsongo | Nation Media Group

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) is moving to stop impeached public officials from gunning for elective seats in August.

IEBC has instructed returning officers not to clear such candidates unless a court order compels them to process their nomination papers.

The decision complicates the woes of former Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko, who is eyeing the Mombasa county boss seat, after the High Court on Thursday restrained IEBC from processing his papers.

The petition was filed by civil society groups Haki Yetu, Kituo Cha Sheria and Transparency International.

The Mombasa returning officer has been directed not to accept Mr Sonko’s documents.

The same was communicated to the Kiambu County returning officer in case former Governor Ferdinand Waititu presents his papers for nomination.

Mr Waititu lost in the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) primaries for Kiambu governor but has not made public intention to vie for any position.

Mr Sonko and Mr Waititu were impeached for corruption, abuse of office and misconduct.  Both lost cases they filed to reverse the action though Mr Sonko went to the Supreme Court.

IEBC says the decision was guided by Article 75(3) of the Constitution.

Says the article: “A person who has been dismissed or otherwise removed from office for a contravention of the provisions specified in clause (2) is disqualified from holding any other state office.”

“Even without the court order mentioned, Article 75 of the Constitution is self-speaking and self-executing. It is clear and does not require to be qualified to take effect,” IEBC Chief Executive Hussein Marjan said.

Former Kiambu Youth Executive Karungo Thang’wa was kicked out over embezzlement. He is now Kiambu UDA Senate candidate.

Similarly, Tana River County Assembly impeached its Speaker Justin Nkaduda. Attempts to reconcile the Speaker and ward representatives hit a wall while a case he filed challenging his ouster remains unresolved.

He now wants to represent the county in the Senate on a New Democrats Party ticket.

“The constitutional stipulations of Chapter Six were never intended for ornamental purposes,” Mr Marjan said.

At the same time, the IEBC has forwarded the list of aspirants to the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) for vetting.

Several names in the lists forwarded by political parties as well as independents face criminal and economic crimes cases.

Though the investigative and prosecutorial agencies have often wanted to block candidates with integrity questions about them, tens of hopefuls under investigation or facing charges in court could still be on the ballot thanks to the weakening of Chapter Six requirements.

Others are Mr Ayub Savula who wants to be Kakamega deputy governor, Mr Patrick Musimba who wants to succeed Makueni Governor Kivutha Kibwana and MPs John Waluke (Sirisia), Samuel Arama (Nakuru Town West), Alfred Keter (Nandi Hills) and Oscar Sudi (Kapseret).

There is also former Cabinet Secretary Rashid Echesa who has set eyes on the Mumias West parliamentary seat.

At the same time, Chief Justice Martha Koome has said individuals who have been convicted in court or impeached from public office should not contest any seat in August.

The CJ added that people who have been convicted or impeached from office remain guilty of the offences that faced them until the sentencing and conviction are either reversed or set aside by a higher court.

In an interview with Spice FM, Ms Koome said those convicted for criminal offences cannot hold or run for a public office, pending the hearing and determination of any appeal filed to challenge their sentencing.

“You remain impeached until that impeachment is lifted. When you are sentenced, you are sentenced until the sentence is set aside,” Justice Koome said yesterday.

She accused politicians of misinterpreting the law to serve their interests, adding that the decision by impeached or convicted leaders to run for office goes against the law.

The Supreme Court President said a verdict can only be overturned by a court.

“I think we interpret the law the way we like to for our benefit. If I want to benefit, I will interpret it the way I want. But the law remains the law,” Justice Koome said.

Additional reporting by Silas Apollo and Joseph Wangui


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