The Star (Nairobi)

Kenya: Ombudsman Wants Sonko, Waititu Barred

MPs Mike Sonko and Ferdinand Waititu are among 38 high profile individuals whom the Commission on Administrative Justice wants barred from the March 4 General Election.

Others are all the 22 former Electoral Commission of Kenya commissioners led by Samuel Kivuitu. A third category are 12 former and current public officers who have been convicted or charged with abuse of office.

In its letter to the IEBC, the commission has recommended that Sonko and Waititu be declared ineligible to run for public office on the grounds that they do not meet the constitutional standards of integrity in public and private conduct.

But in a rejoinder yesterday afternoon, the MPs separately linked politics in CAJ's decision and accused their opponents of using all means to stop them from contesting.

They both accused its chairman Otiende Amollo of attempting to block them from the race in favour of his sister, Kasarani MP Elizabeth Ongoro who wants to run for the Nairobi senate seat on an ODM ticket.

Sonko is eyeing the senate on a TNAticket while Waititu hopes to be nominated by TNA to run for city governor. "I am the target of the CAJ decision because of my popularity," Sonko said.

In Parliament Buildings, Waititu accused Amollo of 'insincerity' and warned that there will be no shortcuts for anyone seeking to hold political office in Nairobi.

"CAJ has never summoned me to clarify any issue they may have against me. I sincerely believe that in a fair process both sides must be listened to," Waititu said.

However, the CAJ said it had written several letters and reminders to Waititu. The commission accuses Waititu of failing to respond to the letter written to him by the Commission to confirm the veracity of the allegations against him.

"Waititu did not respond whereupon the commission wrote appropriately worded reminders with warnings of dangers of unresponsiveness. To date there has never been any response from the MP," Amollo said.

The Commission accuse the two MPs of being 'unresponsive, engaging in misbehavior and other malfeasance in the public domain.'

Waititu is accused of hiring about 50 unruly youths to forcefully take a plot owned by Nile Road Primary School in Kamulu area.

The MP is alleged to have led the youths in the demolition of the perimeter wall, theft of fencing materials and the contractor's personal effects and roughing up the contractor.

The MP is also accused of publicly engaging in hate speech, incitement to violence against the police and other "certain communities" and disdain to the law

Sonko is accused of misbehavior and bribery in relation to the alleged assault of the sergeant at arms of the National Assembly, Harun Omondi Okal.

Sonko publicly admitted to have bribed Okal with Sh25,000 at Intercontinental Hotel and even recorded a conversation between them in which the bribe was given.

"Sonko has not only been arraigned in court in several criminal charges relating to fraud, but also publicly conducted himself in a manner that demeans the office he holds as an MP," Amollo said.

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