East African Court of Justice judge and former Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission boss Justice Aaron Ringera has faulted the Bill that allows corruption convicts to run for political office.
“In any country scourged by corruption, integrity and ethical reforms should never weaken the strides made in fighting corruption but rather strengthen them,” he said.
Justice Ringera was speaking during commemoration of 7th anniversary of African Anti-Corruption Day 2023, at the University of Nairobi.
The Bill has been proposed by Homa Bay Town MP Peter Kaluma.
It seeks to water down the Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Act of 2003 by deleting Section 64 of Chapter Six of the Constitution which prevents corruption and economic crime convicts from holding public office.
Justice Ringera noted that the Bill if ratified, will be a monumental step backwards in the fight against corruption.
“Inimical to the public interest, I can state with authority that it took many hours of deliberations in 1999 and 2000 between Kenyan anti-corruption body and representative of public interest committee to come up with those provisions which now sought to being repealed,” he said.
War against graft
War against graft in the country dates back to the colonial period in 1956 with enactment of British Prevention of Corruption Act, chapter 65 of Laws of Kenya then providing legal framework for combating public.
He said fight against corruption largely remains a responsibility of the public whom he said are the primary agents and subsequently the ultimate victims.
He cited use of bribery to secure jobs and get academic certificates and killing of relatives to accelerate succession as some of the unethical corruption-inclined activities the society is grappling with.
Politisation and ethnicisation of graft he said has internalised corruption as the way of life and therefore curtails efforts by institutions charged with fight corruption mandate in the country–judicial system, EACC and civil societies among others to eradicate the menace.
Stay informed. Subscribe to our newsletter
EACC Chief Executive Twalib Mbarak hailed the progress made in battle against economic crimes. “Today, we arrest and charge senior government officials, the clock is moving and it is not retrogressive,” he said.
EACC vice chair Monica Muiru said the war on graft can only be won through individual decisions to make a change.
This comes amid judicial challenges on execution of graft cases with the Office of Director of Public Prosecutions withdrawing charges against high profile officers in government. The ODPP has cited lack of satisfactory evidence to execute the cases.