Justice Minister Eugene Wamalwa told Parliament that Embakasi MP Ferdinand Waititu and his Makadara counterpart Gideon Mbuvi were free to contest for elective seats in the March 4 General Election.
While issuing a ministerial statement sought by nominated MP Rachael Shebesh, Wamalwa made it clear that nothing stops the two from vying for any position. He said recommendations by the Commission on Administrative Justice, which wants the two barred from the March 4 elections, cannot form a legal basis to stop the two from contesting.
He said only the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission, and The Registrar of Political Parties could declare a person not fit to run for public office.
“So far, there have been no judicial pronouncements that have declared the two unfit to vie for the said positions,” he explained.
Wamalwa said he would communicate with the IEBC so that they can come out clear by issuing a statement. The minister said the two cannot be condemned before being heard, adding that the commission was not the absolute determinant of the integrity of the two.
Waititu regretted that the commission had not summoned them to appear before it and thus were condemned unheard.
Waititu insisted the commission had no powers to recommend they be barred from contesting and should publish an apology in the daily newspapers. Mbuvi on his part wanted to know why the commission had decided not to follow the law by convicting them before any trial.
The commission, in December last year, recommended that the two, and 38 other high profile individuals, be barred from vying in the General Election. Others who the commission barred are the 22 former Electoral Commission of Kenya commissioners led by Samuel Kivuitu. A third category are 12 former and current public officers who have been convicted or charged with abuse of office.
In its letter to the IEBC, the commission recommended that Sonko and Waititu be declared ineligible to run for public office on grounds that they do not meet the constitutional standards of integrity.
By Allan Kisia, The Standard