Kenya: Mutunga Warns 2013 Candidates

By Wesonga Ochieng


CHIEF Justice Willy Mutunga has warned that Chapter Six of the new constitution will be strictly enforced in the next general elections.

“That chapter (Six on leadership and integrity) talks about leadership across our society. The values are clear. Those husbands who are beating their wives must know that you cannot even be a counselor or a chief. Forget it,” said Mutunga yesterday in Mombasa during the launch of the Muslim for Human Rights Legal Aid Clinic.

“Those of you who are running for office, whatever office you are running for, should know that if you are found to have been violent, or you have stolen votes or you brutalized voters, Chapter Six will ensure that you will never run for political office again. Those running for office should read that chapter very carefully because if you are guilty it is the chapter that will make sure that you don’t run for any public office in this country,” he said.

Mutunga, known for his independence and reform record, asked politicians to keenly read Chapter Six of the constitution which he said will be adhered to in totality. The status of Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and Eldoret North MP William Ruto under the Leadership Code is particularly significant as they are facing charges of crimes against humanity in the Hague. Former Justice minister Mutula Kilonzo repeatedly said that Uhuru and Ruto would not be eligible under the new constitution for any elective post unless the ICC clears them.

The Leadership and Integrity Bill is under preparation to operationalize Chapter Six of the constitution. “Persons facing serious crimes charges both locally and abroad are not allowed to stand for election or appointment to any state office,” Justice PS Gichira Kibara said in a speech read for him at a legislative seminar earlier this month. Both Uhuru and Ruto have publicly declared their intention to succeed President Kibaki despite the ICC charges against them being confirmed in January this year.


However they will be handicapped by Chapter Six that deals with leadership and integrity; Chapter Eight on the legislature; and Chapter Nine on the executive. Chapter Eight article 99 (2) (g) says that a person is disqualified from being elected as an MP if the person has been sentenced to imprisonment of at least six months. But MPs reviewing the draft constitutions in Naivasha in January 2010 softened this clause by introducing another clause stating, “a person is not disqualified under clause (2) unless all possibility of appeal or review of the relevant sentence and decision has been exhausted.”

Uhuru and Ruto argue that they have not yet been convicted by the ICC, let alone having exhausted the appeal process. Article 99 (2) (h) says that a candidate cannot stand if he “is found, in accordance with any law, to have misused or abused a State office or public office or in any way to have contravened Chapter Six which deals with integrity.”

Chapter Nine article 137 (1) (b) stipulates that a person can only stand for President if he or she passes the bar of vying as an MP. So to stand for president, a Kenya must meet the rules under Clause 99 and Chapter Six on leadership and integrity. Mutunga’s comments yesterday again raised the issue of whether facing criminal charges would constitute a sufficient question mark on your integrity under Chapter Six to bar you from standing for office.

Yesterday the CJ insisted that it was important for Kenyans to elect leaders with high moral integrity because they will hold office in trust. He asked Kenyans to remain calm as the country prepares for next elections due on March 4, 2012 and to shy away from politicians propagating violence and tribalism. He said the poor need to be shielded by the law. The Mombasa clinic will help the public in processing bail and bonds, tracing files at the law courts, and educating local communities in the administration of justice. “The poor need justice and not the law. This facility comes at a time when reforms are rife in the judiciary and I think it will help us in the whole process now that we have elections ahead,” said Mutunga.

Muhuri in collaboration with law students at the Mombasa campus of University of Nairobi will offer paralegal services at the facility. The Rome Statute, under which the ICC operates, is legally part of Kenya’s constitution. According to the Rome Statute, a person charged before the court is subject to imprisonment of up to 30 years.

According to Chapter One of the constitution, the general rules of international law form part of the law of Kenya, as do any treaty or convention ratified by Kenya. “The ICC is not a foreign court as it is being portrayed. The Kenyan constitution recognizes that international law is a source of the Kenyan law. The ICC gave Kenya options but because of parliament’s wisdom or lack of it, they failed,” said Mutunga’s chief of Staff Duncan Okello on Thursday. “The cases at the court are right but in a manner that is politically inconveniencing to some,” Okello told student leaders at Bomas.



Posted by on Apr 28 2012. Filed under African News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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