A civil society group yesterday triggered a major storm when it presented a petition to have 20 politicians barred from holding public office.
The group petitioned the electoral commission to deny the politicians clearance to run in the August 8 General Election.
The action by the National Integrity Alliance prompted a fight back by the politicians, among them seven sitting governors and eight MPs.
The alliance accused those named of corruption, abuse of office, and hate speech.
Among those listed are governors Hassan Joho (Mombasa), Evans Kidero (Nairobi), Alfred Mutua (Machakos), Okoth Obado (Migori), Cyprian Awiti (Homa Bay), Ken Lusaka (Bungoma), and Mwangi wa Iria (Murang’a).
Others are Nairobi Senator Mike Mbuvi Sonko, Kirinyaga aspiring governor Anne Waiguru, MPs Ferdinard Waititu (Kabete), Alfred Keter (Nandi), Asman Kamama (Tiaty), Elizabeth Ongoro (nominated), Moses Kuria (Gatundu South), Oscar Sudi (Kapseret), and Matthew Lempurkel (Laikipa North).
Also on the list is Uasin Gishu woman representative aspirant Gladys Shollei, former CS Kazungu Kambi, who is contesting the Kilifi governorship, Ochilo Ayacko, who wants to be Migori governor, and Dandora Area II aspiring MCA, Stephen Murathi Kambi.
The alliance, which includes Transparency International, Society for International Development, Mzalendo Trust, and Inuka Trust, yesterday submitted the list code-named #Redcard20, to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).
It questions the integrity of the politicians named, insisting that they are unfit to hold any public office. IEBC’s communications director, Andrew Limo, confirmed that he had received the petition.
“We just received it today. The commission is looking at it and we will communicate the way forward,” said Mr Limo.
The named politicians expressed their unreserved sentiments.
Governor Mutua said the report was driven by malice, adding that the rule of law, which presumes one innocent until proven guilty, must be upheld. “Being under suspicion does not make you guilty. There is so much witch-hunt and the rule of law must be upheld,” Dr Mutua said.
A close associate of Ms Shollei said the NGOs are on a fishing expedition. She termed Shollei’s case politically-motivated and based on incorrect information.
“All witnesses have testified that she has done nothing wrong,” said the associate.
Mr Kuria said the Constitution is clear on barring candidates and the people of Gatundu had made their decision during the Jubilee Party nominations, which the activists cannot purport to change.
“I don’t know those people and I can equally accuse them of failing to make their beds in the morning and thus claim they lack integrity,” Kuria said.
Mr Sonko was equally dismissive as he said the NGOs should not allow themselves to be used politically and referred them to the Constitution.
“Let me hope this is not part of propaganda and that the NGOs are not being used by my rivals. We are Kenyans who abide by the law and the activists cannot turn themselves into the Judiciary. Where are they drawing their mandate from?” Sonko posed.
“Their report is baseless. Who are they that they want to call for our dismissal from contesting? They are the same busy bodies who attempted to deny President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy, William Ruto, a chance to vie in the run-up to the 2013 General Election,” said Mr Sudi.
Mr Kambi, scoffed at the report, saying he had not been indicted and that the Director of Public Prosecutions had terminated his corruption case.
Governor Wa Iria dismissed the report, saying the petition was driven by malice as there was no case related to his integrity before any court of law.