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Only courts can rule on politicians’ integrity, activist says

An activist has gone to court to protest against the enforcement of the law on leadership and integrity for those aspiring to vie for various positions in the August elections.

In a suit filed by Mr Okiya Omtatah on Wednesday, he argued that there are nearly 15 institutions that have joined forces so as to ensure Chapter Six of the Constitution, which deals with leadership and integrity requirement, is enforced for those intending to vie.

Mr Omtatah argued that it is only the courts which have the authority to determine whether to disqualify an aspiring candidate for not fulfilling the requirement of that law.

He claimed that the collaborations of the institutions dubbed as Chapter Six Working Group on Election Preparedness, which aims at imposing the eligibility requirements for the aspirants seeking to vie during the August 8 polls, is ‘self-imposed’.

NULL AND VOID

“The impugned requirements are unconstitutional, null and void because they contradict the Constitution to the extent that they are not based on any legislation that meets the threshold for limiting the enjoyment of rights for those seeking elective posts,” Mr Omtatah said.

He alleged that the requirements brushes aside the doctrine of the presumption of innocence until proven guilty and the right to refuse to give self-incriminating evidence.

He also argued that the requirements are unlawful because they are contrary to the qualifications set for a Member of Parliament (MP) as well as that of a County Assembly (MCA).

The institutions of the said group include the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC), the Judiciary, the Attorney General, the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), the Registrar of Political Parties, the Public Service Commission (PSC) and the Higher Educations Loans Board (Helb).

Others are the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), the Kenya National Examinations Council (Knec), the Department of Immigration, the Official Receiver and the Credit information Sharing Association of Kenya as well as professional bodies.

UNREASONABLE RESTRICTIONS

According to the activist who has sued the mentioned institutions, he accused them of imposing unreasonable restrictions on citizens wishing to vie in the August 8 polls by engaging in administrative action that is procedurally unfair.

He also argued that institutions such as CIS Kenya has no business to do with vetting aspiring candidates and that the AG cannot be relied on to undertake such a role since he might act at the pleasure of the President when it comes to political competitors.

He further argued that there is a deliberate violation of rights and therefore wants operations of the said group be temporarily suspended until his case is heard and determined.

“Only the Courts of law with competent jurisdiction can make a binding determination that can disqualify a person from vying at elections to public office on the grounds that they violated Chapter Six of the Constitution,” he said.

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