The political high season is with us. Elective office holders will be out to convince voters to renew their mandate for another five years on August 8, 2017. On the other hand, those aspiring to become leaders for the first time or after some time in the political cold will also come out in their numbers to woo voters.
Pledges and promises will be made, but as has often been the case, they will most likely never be met once the elections are over. The onus therefore lies on voters to make informed choices with the scant information they have on aspirants. However, the drafters of the 2010 Constitution took this into account while laying the threshold for elective and public office holders.
Individuals aspiring to become leaders must be of high integrity, in conformity with Chapter Six of the Constitution. To ensure this, the Constitution created safety valves through which such individuals have to be run before they are given a clean bill of health. These include clearance by constitutional institutions like the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC), Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), the Higher Education Loans Board (HELB) and Credit Reference Bureaus (CRA).
EACC filters out individuals with moral issues while KRA, CRB and HELB ensure they have met their financial obligations. In the absence of these safeguards, voters may end up electing people of questionable values to offices where their overriding concerns would be to protect their ill-gotten wealth or to plunder public resources.
Having taken cognisance of this, and while intending to make sure the Constitution is adhered to, President Uhuru Kenyatta has directed that all applications by Jubilee aspirants that are not accompanied by clearances from relevant institutions should be rejected. This is a laudable move that should be emulated by all political parties. Only the best should be given space to run up to the tape and to be honoured to lead Kenyans.