Whereas some Kenyans have expressed their aspirations to seek elective offices, such as to be the president, governor, senator, or members of the national or county assemblies, there seems to be very little debate about what is needed to vet those who are seeking these offices. The Chapter on Leadership and Integrity, read together with the Chapter on Representation of the People, gives fair but firm principles, which we could rely on to vet all candidates. This should be done from national to county levels. We propose that before anyone appears on the ballot paper, they present the following 10 certificates or letters of clearance to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).
Without ranking, the first should be a Tax Compliance Certificate from the Kenya Revenue Authority. This should be a clearance that these aspirants have paid all their taxes that are due, and also have not participated in tax evasion. All those who seek these State Offices, should demonstrate that they are committed to contribution of government revenue. The second certificate should be from the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission, which should provide a clearance that those seeking elective office have not participated in any fraud in the past and are not under any investigations for both present and past scandals.
The third clearance should be from the Criminal Investigations Department of the Kenya Police. The “Certificate of Good Conduct” should be evidence that the persons vying to lead us, have no past criminal records (in both their private and public lives) and are not undergoing present criminal investigation. Related to this certificate is a fourth clearance letter, which should be acquired from the Chief Registrar of the Judiciary. This letter should inform us whether there is any ongoing criminal or civil case and the nature of the cases. For example, we should know whether the aspirant has any civil or criminal case involving some dishonesty to disclose interest to a private company or has simply stolen from it respectively.
The fifth clearance should be acquired from the Credit Reference Bureau Africa Limited, which should detail to us whether the aspirant has any financial delinquencies, has issued bounced cheques, has fraudulent cases, or whether they have any legal suit. Indeed, we should know whether the aspirants have inadvertently defaulted in repayment of bank loans or whether they have deliberately refused to pay such loans.
The sixth clearance certificate should be from the Higher Education Loans Board, which should point to us whether the aspirant has paid back the principal loan gotten from the body and the interest that accrued from the college/university loan. The seventh certificate should be gotten from the relevant/respective professional associations, such as accountancy, law, architecture or doctors associations, showing proof that the aspirants are paid-up members and also, they have not committed any ‘professional crime’. For example, we may want to know whether the so-called architect has been part and parcel of any of the collapsed buildings in Kenya or elsewhere.
The eighth clearance should be to send the applicants to psychologists under the Kenya Counselling Association to get a mental check-up, for purposes of knowing whether the aspirant suffers from any of the stress disorders, mental imbalance, and so on. Indeed, there are instances where we have seen so-called leaders do flip flops that are not explainable and not related to a normal human person. Just watch TV news or programmes such Heka Heka, Bulls Eye or News Shot, which are evident of some pre-existing mental problems with some of our leaders. Remember mental infirmity or incapacity is a ground for removal from leadership, and so, lack of it should be a ground for candidacy.
The ninth certificate should be issued by the National Intelligence Service, which provides intelligence material on individuals who are likely to sabotage our country either politically, economically, or socially. We would know which aspirants are involved in illicit trade, such as import and sale of drugs, or those who are dumping industrial or other waste (including dumping sub-standard goods) in our country.
The final certificate should be a joint letter from three public bodies (Commission for Administrative Justice, Kenya National Commission on Human Rights and National Commission on Gender and Equality) indicating the ‘public and human rights metre’ of the aspirant. These are public complaints bodies, and if the aspirant has been accused of human rights abuses, including women’s human rights, or is facing a probe about holding bank accounts outside the country, the aspirant should be blocked from public office.
If these public institutions work effectively, efficiently and independently, then we should be able to lock out cabals, charlatans, thieves and fraudsters among others from public office, as Kenya undertakes the first general elections under this Constitution.
First published by Business Daily
http://www.businessdailyafrica.com/Opinion+++Analysis/Ten+areas+to+focus+on+when++vetting+people+seeking+office+/-/539548/1327104/-/5mnlk5z/-/index.html, accessed Tuesday, February 14, 2012