|CIC Chairman Charles Nyachae has said his team would go to court if law on integrity is watered down.|
By Martin Mutua
MPs this week juggle their selfish interests that have seen them water down key integrity and vetting related rules and unrelenting pressure from the public to change course.
Accused of removing hurdles such as vetting which were meant to raise the levels of competence, suitability and uprightness among leaders, Members of Parliament are left with only three days to enact into law six Bills. In every of their step the public will be watching to see which side the MPs will take.
The MPs have only up to the weekend to enact the pending Bills, which include those on national security and war against terrorism, which they have to go through with a fine toothcomb to ensure the changes proposed do not assault the country’s range of freedoms ensconced in the current Constitution under its robust Bill of Rights.
The Bills must be passed and assented to by the President before Monday next week, which might see the House extend its sittings up to the weekend in order to beat the deadline in accordance with the law.
The security Bills include The National Intelligence Security Bill, The National Security Council Bill and Kenya Defence Forces Bill. Others are The Leadership and Integrity Bill, The Assumption of Office of the President Bill and The Petitions to Parliament Bill.
MPs are being accused by civil society groups of having watered down the Leadership and Integrity Bill, which had among other things empowered the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission to issue compliance or clearance certificates to candidates.
The original Bill according to the groups that also include the Commission on the implementation of the Constitution mandated other bodies like Kenya Revenue Authority and the Higher Education Loans Board to declare if candidates were up to date on tax payments and university fees loan repayment.
In place of the proposed stringent vetting process, MPs are said to have allowed for candidates only to fill a self-gauging form in which they will be only required to tick ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ against questions themselves.
Civil society and other pressure groups are incensed the thresholds the members set for and subjected nominees for other high public service positions won’t apply to them as they seek clearance to run for elective posts next year.
Committee for the Implementation of the Constitution led by Mr Charles Nyachae has already threatened to go to court if the Bill will be passed by the House in its “watered down” state.