IEBC locks Sonko out of August polls in new directive

IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati

IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati who has said that impeached politicians will be barred from contesting in the August General Election. But those with pending criminal cases have been let off the hook.

Photo credit: Dennis Onsongo | Nation Media Group

Impeached politicians will be barred from contesting in the August General Election but those with pending criminal cases have been let off the hook.

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Thursday said they will not bar politicians with integrity issues from vying as long as they still have ongoing court cases.

The announcement by IEBC boss Wafula Chebukati effectively seals the fate of former Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko, who was seeking the same seat in Mombasa County. Mr Chebukati said IEBC will be guided by law rather than the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) report in the ongoing clearance.

EACC wants 241 aspirants barred over integrity issues, including two running for President, one seeking clearance as a running mate, 61 for governor, six for Senate, 19 for Woman Rep, 58 for MP, and 94 for MCA.

Appeal

“For those who have been convicted but have an appeal, the commission follows the direction of Article 99 (3) which says that, as long as you have an appeal, we cannot stop you from running and I think that’s why the returning officer in Sirisia cleared Sirisia MP John Waluke,” said Mr Chebukati.

“But, based on Article 75 of the constitution, individuals who have been impeached will stay impeached and we shall treat them as such,” he added.

Mr Waluke and his business partner Grace Wakhungu were found guilty of fraud and illegal acquisition of Sh297 million through shady deals by the anti-corruption court. Upon conviction, the court imposed a combined fine of Sh2billion. In default, Ms Wakhungu was to serve 39-years in prison while the MP was handed a 34-year sentence.

Mr Chebukati further pointed out that IEBC is alive to the fact that Chief Justice Martha Koome has constituted three-judge bench to hear cases relating to integrity issues and they are looking forward to its outcome.

Consequently, he appealed to the court to expedite the process within two weeks before they start preparing ballot papers.

Those who have been impeached and are seeking clearance to vie are former Nairobi governor Mike Sonko (Mombasa governor), and Karungo Thangwa (Kiambu Senate).

Mr Chebukati added that candidates mentioned in the EACC report must present a self-declaration form stamped by the anti-graft agency where a copy remains with EACC and another is presented to IEBC returning officers during clearance.

On the report, said the IEBC boss, they are looking at it and will issue a statement on the matter today.

“We will look at the report in detail and pick out some areas that cause disqualification in the law but where it doesn’t affect a candidate’s qualification or disqualification, we shall treat it as such,” said Mr Chebukati.

On Mr Justus Juma, a presidential aspirant whom EACC rejected for clearance, Mr Chebukati said EACC used wrong details, placing him among the people who should not be cleared to contest in the elections.


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