IEBC faces big test on aspirants’ integrity

IEBC chairman Chebukati Wafula, Chief Executive Officer Ezra Chiloba(r) and commisioner Dr. Roselyne Akombe at their Anniversssary Towers office. (Photo: Jenipher Wachie/Standard).

Focus is now shifting to the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) over a list it submitted to the electoral agency on individuals facing integrity questions.

It’s not clear how the IEBC will apply the recommendations of the report to lock out some candidates who have already been cleared to contest.

The EACC sent the list to IEBC on Wednesday evening, containing names of among others 11 governors, three woman representative aspirants, 14 parliamentary aspirants and three Senate candidates.

Already, the anti-graft body is facing criticism and accusations of playing to the gallery by submitting the list after the candidates had been cleared.

Witch-hunt claims

Equally, EACC is now being forced to fight claims of witch-hunt after most candidates presented to IEBC returning officers a clearance certificate from Integrity House, as part of the primary documents required.

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“What candidates provided was a self-declaration form which they fill and leave a copy with us. After that, the commission does its own background checks and forwards its findings to IEBC,” EACC Communications Officer Yasin Amaro said.

On receiving the EACC report, IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati said those found to be in breach of the law would have their certificates withdrawn.

The commission has since written back to EACC to seek more information and clarification.

The commission, however, faces a herculean task should it resort to withdrawing nomination clearance as legal and political analysts point out that it’s almost impossible to block a candidate.

The High Court ruling of a case involving President Uhuru Kenyatta and DP William Ruto ahead of the 2013 elections lowered the integrity bar by setting a precedent that only a person who has been convicted and exhausted all avenues of appeal can be barred from running for public office.

Uhuru and Ruto were then facing charges of crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Court (ICC) when the court cleared them to contest.

“We already set a precedent in the case of Kethi Kilonzo verses IEBC when the commission withdrew her nomination following revelations of fraudulent registration. Therefore, IEBC still has legal teeth to implement Chapter Six compliance,” said IEBC communications manager Andrew Limo.

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