It is a serious indictment on Kenya's public morality that aspirants seeking political positions are not required to be men and women of integrity, yet, every year, the citizenry laments about how public resources are perennially diverted for illegal and irregular private gain.
Only this week, the Director of Public Prosecutions said his office would go easy on prosecutions against individuals accused of graft if they are vying for public office. According to him, such cases will gather steam after the August election. Earlier, a court had given an aspirant time off from her case so that she could concentrate on election campaigns.
And just yesterday, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission told another court that it would not bar anyone facing integrity cases from vying for public office, meaning those who have been accused of serious crimes, including corruption, are free to vie.
Kenya has set the threshold for integrity in public office so low that it has, in effect, nullified Chapter Six of the Constitution. The upshot of this is that people whose actions have flied in the face of public interest now stand a chance of being elected to public office. This is a serious blot on the country, as it sends the unfortunate message that integrity does not matter.
Although Kenya now finds itself in a moral morass, men and women of goodwill should find a way to redeem the country by identifying aspirants who have acted against public interest first, and over time, putting in place systems, policies and laws that make integral part of leadership in public offices, whether elected or appointed.
- Nelson Havi concedes defeat in Westlands MP race
- Ruto, Karua first to vote at their respective polling stations
- Mombasa, Kakamega governor races suspended
- Court asked to bar candidates with graft cases from taking office
Although Samuel Johnson, the British writer, once opined that patriotism is the large refuge of a scoundrel, in Kenya, it is important that voters be educated to take a position on the scoundrels seeking political office with a view to denying them votes. Other institutions, including the media, should play an active role spotlighting suspected scoundrels so that voters can make informed decisions come August.