Recent discussions on integrity have largely focused on whether ICC suspects Deputy PM Uhuru Kenyatta, and Eldoret North MP William Ruto should vie for the presidency.
The Bill, however, is not tailored for those facing trial at the ICC only. The net could be cast wider to screen the suitability of all those seeking public offices. Currently, there are no less than 10 MPs battling cases over various offences.
Even more are implicated in financial scandals, such as Goldenberg and Anglo Leasing, mentioned adversely in reports by commissions of inquiry like that on irregular allocation of public land and parliamentary watchdog reports.
Among those with ongoing cases is Gatundu North’s Clement Waibara, who is facing a conspiracy to murder charge. Msambweni MP Omar Zonga is accused of fraud related charges alongside other Ministry of Lands officials.
In Nairobi, Embakasi MP Ferdinard Waititu, and Makadara’s Gideon Mbuvi Sonko are facing charges of incitement to violence, and fraud.
Friday, Waititu was arrested over a demonstration in the city. He intends to vie for governorship of Nairobi County. Nambale MP Chris Okemo is fighting extradition to Jersey Island, UK, over allegations of money laundering. Chepalungu MP Isaac Ruto is facing an assault charge in a Bomet court.
Eldoret South MP Peris Simam has been charged alongside her husband and a Government official with misuse of public funds.
West Mugirango MP James Gesami is battling corruption charges. Gesami resigned as Public Health Assistant minister over the allegations.
Naivasha MP John Mututho is also in court over allegations that he fraudulently obtained Sh41m from Kenyatta National Hospital, as a refund for taxes accrued in the import of beds and cabinets to the hospital. Mututho is seeking to be governor of the Nakuru County.
A controversial US dossier tabled in Parliament last year by the late Internal Security minister George Saitoti also purported to link some MPs to drug trafficking and money laundering.
Those named in the report were Kilome MP Harun Mwau, William Kabogo (Juja), Gidion ‘Sonko’ Mbuvi and Ali Hassan Joho (Kisauni). Saitoti, however, said that police investigations had failed to prove any connection between the MPs and the illegal trade. They were cleared of the claim.
The draft Bill is before the Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution, which has sought public views. But issues with regard to its ‘lack of clarity’, in several sections, including 39, 43, 47, and 73, are setting the stage for heated debate, with civil society groups pushing for provisions that will expressly disqualify anyone facing charges in court.