Religious leaders on Wednesday called out the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, again, accusing the polls body of being timid in dealing with aspirants accused of corruption in their past dealings.
At a press briefing at the ACK Guest House in Nairobi, the clerics from various Christian and Muslim denominations said the electoral commission created a “huge setback” in the fight against graft when it allowed aspirants fingered by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission to contest.
“This DRG (Dialogue Reference Group) notes that the IEBC received a record of integrity concerns regarding specific candidates from the Ethics and Anticorruption Commission. However, the IEBC went ahead and cleared the same individuals to contest for positions in the coming elections,” the clerics said under a joint religious grouping on election concerns.
The electoral body has been under the spotlight since the EACC submitted a list of 106 politicians flagged for having unanswered questions on their integrity.
The IEBC, though, claimed that the decision to block any candidate will depend on whether those aspirants have exhausted options to appeal.
In the end, most of those on the list were allowed to contest in the upcoming elections.
But the clerics say the commission as being complacent when it failed to blacklist the candidates identified, and want Kenyans to hammer the final nail on their political ambitions.
“We find this to be a huge setback on the war against corruption. However, we do not give up, and appeal to you Kenyans: make use of your ballot by voting out every person who has integrity questions on their character.”
Ahead of elections, when the IEBC, candidates and political parties have been embroiled in questions about the readiness of the electoral body and how candidates have failed to respect the code of conduct, the clergy came forth with a series of comments.
They accuse the commission of not doing enough to tame politicians who have had “rampant violation” of the code set by the IEBC.
“This denotes strong failure on the part of the IEBC to enforce the law as it is today," they said.
"Kenyans are waiting for the IEBC and the law enforcement agencies to implement their mandates by bringing to justice any and all individuals found to be breaching the electoral law.”
Both the IEBC, police and the National Cohesion and Integration Commission have recently warned politicians from inciting voters, engaging in violence or generally breaking election laws.
But it is in the implementation of it that clerics had issue with.
On Wednesday, the IEBC was due to hear petitions from various aspirants who had complained that their rivals were breaking the very law.
But the decision on penalties to be meted out would be known later.
The religious leaders included representatives from the Evangelical Alliance of Kenya, the Hindu Council of Kenya, Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops, National Council of Churches of Kenya, National Muslim Leaders Forum, Organisation of African Instituted Churches, Seventh Day Adventist and the Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims.
- National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK) Secretary-General Peter Karanja (left), Bishop Alfred Rotich (centre) and Sheikh Abdalla Kamwana lead other religious leaders in addressing journalists at ACK Guest house in Nairobi on June 21,2017.