We will bar aspirants with unresolved integrity issues, says Chiloba

Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission Chief Executive Officer Ezra Chiloba during Thursday’s Senate Public Accounts Committee meeting to discuss Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya’s snubbing of House summons at Parliament Buildings. [Moses Omusula, Standard]

Political aspirants named adversely in parliamentary committee reports are at the mercy of the courts as the electoral commission begins clearing candidates next week.

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) yesterday warned the aspirants indicted by House committees or with pending integrity issues that they have not appealed against that would not be cleared to vie in the August elections.

House committees

Those affected by the warning by IEBC Chief Executive Officer Ezra Chiloba include Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya, former Devolution Cabinet secretary Anne Waiguru, and Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen. They are all in trouble with House committees.

The development means that Ms Waiguru, a Kirinyaga Jubilee Party aspiring governor, has less than a week to appeal against the adverse finding by the National Assembly Public Accounts Committee or be barred from running as IEBC has announced that it will clear governor hopefuls next Thursday and Friday.

Mr Oparanya’s bid to defend his seat is threatened after the Senate County Public Accounts and Investment Committee issued a warrant for his arrest for snubbing its summons to appear before it to answer audit queries.

The committee also said it would write to the State agencies responsible not to clear the governor to seek re-election.

Like Waiguru, Mr Murkomen is in trouble over the PAC report that indicted a law firm associated with him over the National Youth Service (NYS) scandal.

Mr Chiloba said only candidates with questionable integrity who will prove to the agency that there is an appeal or review of the matters facing them would be cleared.

The IEBC boss, who spoke during a consultative meeting with the Senate committee, said the commission would respect the decisions and recommendations made by constitutional bodies on aspirants.

“We will not clear candidates who have issues with institutions with competent jurisdiction that include Parliament. We will follow the due process of the law and disqualify such aspirants if there is no proof of an appeal in court or review in place,” Chiloba said.

Apart from Parliament, other institutions whose decisions may be factored in before a candidate is cleared include the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC), the office of the Auditor-General, the Directorate of Public Prosecutions, and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations.

On Wednesday, MPs adopted a report by PAC that recommended that Waiguru be charged in court over the NYS scandal and be barred from holding public office if found guilty.

Also on the firing line is Murkomen, who was indicted in the report by the Rarieda MP Nicholas Gumbo-led committee after a law firm associated with him was cited in the NYS report for allegedly abetting money laundering.

It was established after the probe that huge sums of money suspected to have originated from NYS were channelled through the firm, Sing’oei, Murkomen and Sigei Advocates.

County boss

During the session yesterday which was meant to deliberate on what punishment should be meted out on Oparanya for declining to appear before the committee, the House team resolved to write to EACC not to clear the county boss for re-election.

An official at the EACC yesterday told The Standard that a list of those who have been vetted had yet to be compiled.

Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo Jnr, who is a lawyer, said the vetting may not achieve much since one cannot be barred from running based on allegations.

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