Thursday, August 16, 2012

Civil society silent march, Nairobi 17th August, 8.30am, Freedom Corner

Civil society silent march, Nairobi 17th August, 8.30am, Freedom Corner

Kenyans will tomorrow have a silent march, to protest the mutilation of the Leadership and Integrity Bill 2012, and to drum up support for efforts to protect chapter six of the constitution.


Who:  All Kenyans

Effort directed at: Policy Makers

 

Dress code: Black and White


Background

Forty nine years ago, our forefathers brought forth a new nation conceived on the notion of justice, equality and propagating the ideals of eradicating poverty, disease and illiteracy; the gallant efforts of our nation's founding fathers and mothers cost them their lives, liberty and property. The achievement of the ideals for which our founding fathers lost their lives, limbs, freedom and property primarily rests on the people of Kenya and their leaders; it is indeed paramount that our leaders demonstrate their commitment to these ideals by embracing accountability, ethical leadership and responsiveness to the needs and aspirations of the Kenyans


Two years ago, Kenyans sought to inject the ideals of accountability, integrity, openness and dignity into leadership when we enacted for ourselves the Constitution on Kenya 2010 and in it included Chapter Six which sets out the minimum standards that those aspiring for or holding public offices must satisfy. To give effect to and expand on the provisions of Chapter Six of the Constitution the Leadership and Integrity Bill was drafted in early 2012 following consultations facilitated by Ministry of Justice, National Cohesion and Constitutional Affairs. The draft was then reviewed by Commission on the Implementation of the Constitution and upon being satisfied that it established ways of giving effect to Chapter Six of the Constitution, passed it over to the Attorney General and Ministry of Justice for tabling in before the Cabinet prior to publication


Short-comings in the published Leadership and Integrity Bill

The Bill that was published following the approval by the Cabinet contains fundamental flaws and as such is incapable of ensuring that only men and women of integrity ascend to leadership positions in this country. Among the concerns that are foremost in the mind (and lips) of Kenyans are:

a)      The Bills fails to take into account representations made by Kenyans through petitions and memoranda and as such, it detracts from a fundamental national principle of public participation as required by article 10(2) of the Constitution;

b)      The Bill fails to provide for process of vetting of persons offering themselves as candidates for appointment or election into public offices; in the circumstances, there is a real risk that personal integrity will not be a requirement for the said candidates. This poses a significant risk that persons who have wronged the public may end up being appointed or elected in position in public service;

c)       The Bill does not provide mechanisms for the public to input and participate in the vetting process of candidates for public offices; the requirement of public participation in vetting is paramount-after all, the person is offering himself/herself to serve the public and not power to rule them. Further, the requirement of public participation is constitutional requirement under article 10(2)

d)      The Bill does not effectively enforce ethical behavior as it fails to provide mechanisms for anti-corruption  commission to prosecute breach of Chapter Six where the Director of Public Prosecution fails to do so;

e)      The Bill in its current form will allow for conflict of interest to be perpetuated by public officials; by restricting the award of public procurements to spouse and children only, it allows, implicitly, state officials to award tenders to siblings, friends and other acquaintances, a practice that may allow corruption to thrive

For the provisions of Chapter 6 of the Constitution to be met and given the influence (and power) that state officers hold, it is paramount and absolutely necessary that state officers be subject to strict and rigorous process of recruitment, appointment and continuous monitoring. The Leadership and Integrity Bill 2012 as amended by the cabinet will not achieve this result. In addition, a weak legislative framework for vetting such as the Leadership Bill will mean that Kenyans will resort to court to enforce compliance with the Constitution, a process which is undoubtedly tedious, lengthy and costly


The foregoing defects can be cured by re-instating the provisions of the Bill that were removed by the cabinet. In the circumstances, we are calling upon Honourable Members of Parliament to reject the Bill that was tabled in parliament and re-introduce the clauses that had been deleted by the Cabinet. Let us safeguard the future of Kenya by ensuring that the Leadership and Integrity Bill sets integrity and competency standards that Kenyans expect of their leaders.

 --

Emmanuel Dennis Ngongo
National Youth Sector Alliance (NYSA)
2nd Floor, World Alliance of YMCA Building
State House Crescent, Off State House Avenue
P.O. Box 8799, 00200, Nairobi Kenya
Cell: +254722619005
My Bio:http://www.emmanueldenis.blog.com/
Blog: http://emmanuel-ed.blogspot.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/Emmanueldennis
http://facebook.com/emmanuel.dennis
www.nysa.co.ke/ www.thegreenteams.org

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