20 January 2013

Kenya: Lobbyists Want MPs Barred From Poll Over Taxes

Nairobi — A section of civil society organisations now want the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to bar outgoing MPs who have not remitted tax arrears from running for any elective posts.

According to the National Civil Society Congress, the legislators need to clear their arrears first in order to pass the integrity test.

The society's president Morris Odhiambo also called on the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) to speedily recover taxes owed in line with a High Court ruling in a case filed against the MPs.

"We are now saying that the Kenya Revenue Authority should move with speed to recover taxes owed to Kenyans by these former Members of Parliament and we are asking the IEBC not to allow any of these former Members of Parliament to contest for any seats until they clear their arrears," he said.

Speaking during a press conference, Odhiambo further urged the Salaries and Remuneration Commission to set the salaries of State officers before the elections.

"We are also petitioning the Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution, the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights, the Controller of Budget and the Salaries and Remuneration Commission to ensure that these former Members of Parliament submit and pay their tax arrears," he stated.

He pointed out that they will present a petition to the IEBC and the Ethics and Anti-corruption to compel them to implement the court ruling against the legislators.

"Tomorrow from 9am, we are going to walk to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission to formally hand in the court judgment because they are the institutions that shall be responsible for implementing the judgment," he said.

Odhiambo in the meantime described the recently held political party primaries as a total sham that had completely undermined the democratic principles enshrined in the constitution.

"It is obvious that many political parties failed to grasp the importance of the nomination exercise and simply opted to continue with their old undemocratic practices," he said.

He pointed out that their capacity has also been hampered by the fact that some had wanted to extend direct nominations to favoured candidates.

"The small parties chose to simply sell nominations to those who could afford to purchase them. This commoditisation of nomination certificates must be stopped. Some political parties seem to exist simply to support con-artists," he stated.

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