IEBC, EACC Clash In Court Over Fate Of Impeached Aspirants

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The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) and theEthics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) on Thursday clashed in court over the fate of impeached governors and their rights to participate in elections.

EACC says the IEBC is expected to act on reports it presents on flagged candidates, but the IEBC insists that it has the final say on who should run, in accordance with the law.

The two constitutional bodies were named as respondents in the petition that seeks to determine the fate of, among others, Mike Sonko and Karungo Thangwa from contesting.

The petition seeks to bar all candidates with corruption cases from contesting elections in Kenya, it further wants those who have been impeached from office on integrity grounds to be denied the chance to get back into elective positions.

“What was the intention of the drafters of the law in Chapter 6 of the Constitution? This is the most abused chapter in the Constitution,” said Advocate Leonard Asitiva.

The basis of the case is the list presented to the IEBC by the EACC, recommending that over 240 candidates who have expressed interest in vying in the August 9th polls be barred due to integrity issues.

The IEBC in the just concluded registration exercise registered all but three of the hundreds flagged, and the EACC is not happy about this and told the court as much.

“Why did the Constitution talk about public trust or dignity or inspiring confidence in the public office?” Posed advocate Phillip Kagucia, representing EACC.

The EACC in its submissions, said the IEBC has not fulfilled its constitutional mandate by not acting on its reports, a situation that happened one election cycle ago in 2017

“EACC shared to IEBC a list of 106 aspirants with integrity issues, a majority of them were cleared, and the consequences of this, a majority of them are facing corruption cases,” said Kagucia.

The IEBC admitted it does not have to investigate capacity but says it is not bound to act on the EACC’s reports, despite the elections body asking for the same reports from the anti-graft body.

Charles Mwongela, an advocate of IEBC, argued: “EACC cannot direct the IEBC on how to conduct its mandate, what it does it to avail materials which are liaised with IEBC. The IEBC will then interpret that material. IEBC is not a conveyor belt to manoeuvre that it will see material and act on it as recommended.”

Both outfits however seem to agree on one thing, impeached leaders should not be on the ballot paper

Kagucia posed: “What happens when candidates with integrity issues are allowed to vie and are voted in?”

“Impeachment means the end of the road, notwithstanding non-exhaustion of appellate processes,” Mwongela noted.

In the same court, Mike Sonko and Karungo Thangwa are fighting for a chance to be cleared to vie by IEBC, which has declined on account of the impeachment of Sonko as Nairobi governor and Thangwa as county executive in Kiambu.

Their advocates insist that their impeachment status does not stop them from participating

The advocates asked the court to dismiss the petition against their clients. In the meantime, Sonko’s case will also be heard by the IEBC’s dispute resolution tribunal.

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