The Constitution Implementation Commission has criticised the assertions by the US that certain presidential candidates should not be allowed to contest in the general election. CIC chairman Charles Nyachae said Kenya seeks to implement the constitution notwithstanding anybody that might be affected by it.
Speaking in Mombasa yesterday, Nyachae said the law should not be implemented so as to target any individuals. "I read in the media and I have not read a denial to date...that the US secretary of State is said to have said to either the President or I'm not quite sure who about the US position on certain presidential candidates not being allowed to contest the coming elections.
"What we seek to do us Kenyans is to implement the constitution that we passed. What we are required to do as the commission that has an oversight responsibility is to ensure that that constitution is implemented in letter and spirit," said Nyachae. "Implementing this constitution is not about targeting any individuals. We want a law that we would be able to have reference to," he added.
US secretary of State Hillary Clinton is said to have expressed the US' position regarding the candidacy of Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyata and Eldoret North MP William Ruto. Uhuru and Ruto are facing charges of crime against humanity at the International Criminal Court. Their trials are set to starting in April 10 and 11 after elections.
Clinton, who visited Kenya last week and held talks with both President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga, is quoted as saying suspects facing criminal charges should not be allowed to contest the presidency, noting if they were voted in, the US may find it difficult working with them. Yesterday, Nyachae said laws should be formed for posterity and that if anyone falls on the wrong side of the law then that will be that individual's problem.
Nyachae said Chapter six of the must be respected and that laws must be right for anyone in the country and not made in such a way that it has particular effects on certain individuals. "What I would have expected, whether it is the US secretary of State or any other person who really seeks to support our constitution, what I would expect them is to call for Kenyans to ensure that we confirm compliance with the letter and spirit of the constitution and the law that is made there under.
"But the minute you begin talking about specific individuals then it looks like you are doing a law to target specific individuals. That cannot be the intention of the implementation of the constitution," said Nyachae. At the same time, Nyachae also reiterated CIC's disappointment over the Cabinet's removal of the entire section of the Leadership and Integrity Bill that deals with the vetting of persons seeking state of public office.
"Right now as the Bill reads, there is not a process that can be used to vet you, when you want to run for office, to ensure that you are compliant with the letter and spirit of Chapter Six of the Constitution," said Nyachae. He maintained that the commission will send detailed advisory to the National Assembly as they discuss the Bill. The commission has already published a public advisory.
"If that doesn't work we will send another advisory to the President before he assents to the Bill, if that doesn't work then we will have no choice but to go to the constitutional court," said Nyachae. He was speaking on the sidelines of the CIC retreat with MPs on three security bills including the Kenya Defence Forces Bill, the National Security Council Bill and the National Intelligence Service Bill.