10 January 2013

Kenya: Party Leaders Must Monitor Nominees


A new tough clause has just come to light in the Elections Act. Clause 72(2) says a presidential candidate can be disqualified from standing in the election if he "knowingly abets or aids in the election offence".

This is where a "political party knowingly nominates a candidate who does not meet the requirements of the constitution." The implications are colossal.

If a party leader knowingly endorses a candidate for governor who lacks educational qualifications, or a candidate for any elective post who does not meet the integrity threshold, he or she can be blocked from running in the presidential election.

This might seem far-fetched but there is a new independent judiciary in Kenya. Imagine that a party nominates a convicted criminal or drug runner to run for MP.

A zealous member of civil society then goes to court and says the party leader must have known because everyone else knows. And the court is then forced to disqualify the party leader.

The new constitution is starting to bite, even if politicians tried to water it down. The smart thing now is for party leaders is to ensure that all nominations go to persons with clean records, and, where necessary, the right educational qualifications.

Quote of the day: "Fashion fades, only style remains the same." - French fashion designer Coco Chanel died on January 10, 1971

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