By Lillian Aluanga-Delvaux
The ruling by the tribunal that investigated the conduct of suspended Deputy Chief Justice Nancy Baraza has raised the integrity bar required of State and public officers.
Baraza is alleged to have assaulted Rebecca Kerubo, a security guard at the Village Market shopping mall, Nairobi, and threatened her with a pistol when she asked to be screened as part of routine security checks.
In its recommendation to have Baraza removed from office for gross misconduct and misbehaviour, the tribunal ruled her actions showed lack of temperament and ability to perform judicial functions.
Baraza has appealed the tribunal’s recommendation, and appears headed to the courts following the Director of Public Prosecutions go-ahead for her prosecution over the incident.
The ruling over the New Year’s Eve saga comes at a time when there is heightened debate over the draft Leadership and Integrity Bill that the Cabinet has just published.
The Bill, which is among several to be passed by August 27, has seen the civil society and other agencies take issue with ‘attempts to water down’ one of the most crucial pieces of legislation after the Constitution. Those seeking a watertight Bill say the draft, in its current form, negates what was envisaged under Chapter Six.
Top among issues currently in contention is whether presidential aspirants Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto should run for office while facing trials at the International Criminal Court (ICC).
There has also been a push by a section of the civil society to have legislators currently facing charges in court barred from holding elective or appointive positions. Other persons they want included are those adversely mentioned in parliamentary committee reports and other commissions of inquiry into various misdeeds. Currently, there are at least 10 MPs in court over various offences, including conspiracy to murder, fraud, corruption, assault, incitement to violence and misuse of public funds.
Chair to the Commission on Administrative Justice (also known as the Ombudsman’s office), Otiende Amollo says attempts to water down the Leadership and Integrity Bill will not defeat enforcement of Chapter Six of the Constitution.
“It is important to have a water-tight Ethics and Integrity Bill that meets expectations of Chapter Six and the aspirations of Kenyans. But Chapter Six of the Constitution remains complete as it is and will not necessarily depend on legislation for its enforcement,” he says.