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Corrupt MPs, Governors must resign, Uhuru insists

29 March 2015, 16:04 Victor Tinto

Nairobi - President Uhuru Kenyatta has insisted that Governors, Senators and Mps must also resign if implicated in reports detailing their involvement in corruption.

In a statement Sunday, the president through State House spokesman Manoah Esipisu said that there are no grounds for the legislators to refuse to resign from office over corruption allegations since they are elected leaders.

This follows last week's statement by the Council of Governors stating that they will not resign like Cabinet Secretaries because they are elected and not appointed.

However, Uhuru says that the constitution states that once the integrity of an elected leader is in question, he should no doubt resign.

" The President and the Deputy President have on several occasions stated their commitment to eradicate corruption and entrench high levels of accountability, transparency and responsibility throughout the Government and the public sector. The war on corruption must be won, and will be won, the statement read in part.

The president also criticized Governors for misleading the public with their malicious claims.

" Several county governors have gone public with ill-informed, untrue and inappropriate claims regarding their accountability and obligation to submit themselves to the due process of law in regard to allegations of serious corruption directed at some of them.

" The fact that governors are elected leaders does not absolve them from accountability in accordance with the laws of the land. Election does not, and is not intended to confer a licence to loot. On the contrary, by virtue of being elected leaders, exercising the sovereign power of the people and having custody of large volumes of public funds, county governors must be held to the highest standard of probity. To suggest that elective office insures impunity insults the people who elected them and defiles the spirit of democracy and the rule of law.

" Moreover, Article 260 clearly describes county governors, legislators at all levels and other elected leaders as State Officers. Therefore, they fall squarely within the ambit of the constitutional and statutory requirements relating to integrity. They are also affected by the President's directive to step aside. Everyone must recall that the President did not target any individual, or fire anyone; he only restated the inevitable imperatives of our constitutional dispensation and asserted well known principles of law. We are a Nation of Laws, not the whim of individuals. For this reason, politicians should not imagine that they can choose when to be bound by the law, and when to follow their fancy," he added.

On calls by Governors that DP William Ruto must also step aside since he has a pending court case, the president hit back in strong fashion.

" Any claim that one is more or less innocent or guilty because in their view another person ought to be implicated is fraudulent and irresponsible. Leaders of integrity should not shy away from due process under any pretext.

" Politicians have tried to evade their responsibility with regard to integrity, accountability and transparency by irrelevantly, improperly and cynically making reference to the ongoing proceedings at the International Criminal Court. It is imperative to recognise the stark distinctions between the ICC and corruption. The ICC cases are not about corruption. In any event, it will be recalled that claims touching on the ICC were canvassed at length before the Constitutional Court prior to the last General Election. At the time, both candidates - now holders of the office of the President and Deputy President - willingly subjected to the due process of law as the Court considered their fitness in terms of Chapter 6 of the Constitution. Political leaders are encouraged to acquaint themselves with the decision of the court in CONSTITUTIONAL PETITION NUMBER 552 OF 2012 AS CONSOLIDATED WITH PETITIONS NUMBERS 554 OF 2012, 573 OF 2012 AND 579 OF 2012 in the Constitutional and Human Rights Division of the High Court.

" Political leaders should feel inspired to emulate the example of President and Deputy President in voluntarily submitting to due process. A leader whose conscience is clear should look forward to vindicating their innocence at any forum when necessary, he added.

So far, 21 public officials have been suspended from office for their part in a twin report detailing corruption in the public service, including four cabinet secretaries.

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- MyNews24

Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.

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