Sunday, October 14, 2012

Leadership and Integrity Clause a Slippery Ground for All Seeking Public Office

The Big 4 Presidential Candidates 

Kenyan leadership and democracy may be becoming of age with the entrenchment of the Leadership and Integrity Clause in Chapter Six of the Constitution. The clause read together with Article 10 on National Values and Principles of Governance is a slippery ground for all seeking public office in the country’s leadership. It is quite difficult to see which of the current politicians, presidential candidates and other aspiring candidates for public office will remain standing when the clause is strictly applied. For now application of the clause may be urgent in determining whether the two presidential candidates facing trial in the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague, Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto should be in the presidential ballot papers in the next election or not.  Nonetheless, the determination will have wide ramifications for political ambitions of many aspiring candidates. Most will be left lying down seriously scathed politically.

Chief Justice Willy Mutunga’s reference to the decisions on integrity and leadership in cases of the Deputy Chief Justice Nancy Barasa and the appointment of Mumo Matemu as the Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission chairman is a subtle pointer of the judiciary thinking. In the circumstances, it may be a matter of time before the Supreme Court slams the doors shut on the ambitions of the two politicians and many other political aspirants. When the decision falls, jubilations among politicians will be short-lived as one politician falls after the other on the slippery ground.

Kenyatta and Ruto should seriously be preparing for the eventuality that they are blocked from contesting for presidency. Who will take the helm of leadership in their respective political parties if the clause is interpreted adversely against their ambitions? To a keen political observer of the Kenyan politics it may seem that Kenyatta is doing precisely that. The entry of a former self-declared presidential aspirant, Mutava Musymi into The National Alliance Party (TNA), at first as a presidential nominee contestant against Kenyatta, and later the withdrawal of his nomination candidacy in favor of Kenyatta, is telling. He could be the “Prince” in waiting under the wings of Kenyatta for the leadership of TNA in case the latter is incapacitated as a result of the ICC trial. In contrast, in Ruto’s United Republican Party  (URP) such leadership positioning is not clearly visible.

The other self-declared presidential candidates cannot rest comfortably in their political loins. For Musalia Mudavadi of United Democratic Front (UDF), the Goldenberg scandal may haunt his integrity. Raila Odinga may have skeletons hidden in his yet to be widely opened closet. The maize scandal, molasses deal, and nepotism and corruption allegations by Miguna Miguna may blemish his integrity.  After all Miguna Miguna might not be a mad man running away with Odinga’s clothes. Could Odinga be really naked? Stephen Kalozo Musyoka could also not be the clean man he projects himself to be. If his political career is closely examined unpleasant things may be unearthed. There is already allegation of land scandal involving the current Vice President.

When the Supreme Court gives its opinion on the leadership and integrity clause as requested by the Attorney General, not only Kenyatta and Ruto will be casualties, all political aspirants will be put on notice and they will have to fight for their political lives. The field will be set wide open for candidates who pass the integrity test while the old recycled politicians’ political careers may be prematurely terminated.

To the surprise of all, the next President of the Republic of Kenya may be a man or woman that Kenyans have not given much attention to until now.

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