The Executive must respect the rule of the law of the land
The latest move by Cabinet to delete and review important clauses of the Leadership and Integrity Bill did not surprise many. It instead exposed the Government’s grand impunity.
Kenyans unanimously voted for the new Constitution in August 2010 anticipating it would augment the country’s 40 years quest for good governance and open up new frontiers for economic development. But it seems our leaders are out to doctor the new laws.
It is unfortunate that the degree of commitment of the Executive regarding implementation of the new Constitution has always remained questionable. This explains the unending tussles between the Executive and the Judiciary.
Were it fully committed in letter and spirit, then we could at this juncture be having a vetting commission for persons seeking public offices just as we have witnessed in institutions such as the Judiciary.
To make matters worse, the search for members of this commission that is tasked with ensuring aspirants conform to the expectation of Chapter Six of the Constitution and the ethical and moral requirements necessary under Article 99 and 193 has not even began.
This reviewed Bill brings clause 26 to force, allowing State officers to engage in other gainful employment, in contradiction to Article 77(1) of Chapter Six of the Constitution that bars full-time State officers from participating in any other gainful employment.
Is this not a pointer to the Government’s blatant contempt to the new laws? According to the Commission for the Implementation of the new Constitution, this new Bill also fails to establish a vetting process for persons seeking elections to public office, a fact that not only lowers the leadership bar but is also inconsistent with the requisites of our Constitution.
Articles 79 and 80 of the Constitution propose the creation of laws and mechanisms that ensure the compliance and enforcement of Chapter Six on leadership and integrity.
The Executive needs to decide how it will identify tax evaders, Higher Education Loans Board loan defaulters and those who have abused office without thorough vetting.
Should this Bill that is now watered down be taken to Parliament for discussion, then it is proper for our legislators to shoot it down or effect necessary amendments before having it passed.
The Cabinet is advised to emulate the Judiciary that is at present bench marked with tangible reforms that guarantee to propel our country’s legal framework in leaps and bounds.