It appears, from the look of things, Kenyans seem to have accepted that politics is only for the dishonest that’s why our debates during electioneering years are simplified to focus on the better thief. The standards Kenyans use to rank our political leaders are so criminally low that it appears ethics don’t inform our choice of leaders. We accuse our political class of being more focused on numbers than ideology, but we are no better. Kenyan voters often dismiss political aspirants of high integrity and competence because they don’t have the numbers. Ironically, we are the ones who determine who gets the numbers anyway.
Article 1 of the Constitution gives power to Kenyans and every public office holder working under it wields delegated authority from the people. It is with this view in mind that four Kenyan Civil Society Organisations – Society for International Development, Transparency International Kenya (TI-Kenya), Inuka Trust and Mzalendo Trust – have launched the “Red Card” Campaign. Like in football, the four organisations are calling Kenyans to kick out of the political game politicians who don’t meet standards set in Chapter 6 of the Constitution; be they political parties, aspirants, public institutions involved in the process and places of worship that allow politicians to campaign on their premises.
The Chapter on integrity is important because it outlines the responsibilities of public officers and the conduct expected of them. Sadly though, the set ethical standards are ignored across the board. Majority of our leaders show utter disrespect for the people when they seek elective office yet are dishonest in the execution of their duties, in-disciplined and non-committal in service to the people. A good number of our politicians and senior public officers remain unaccountable to the public and have the temerity to come back and seek for votes when they can’t explain how they lost our money.
If Kenyans take the time to check track records of all aspirants based on reports by the Ethical Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC), Parliament’s Hansard and Committee reports, Auditor General, Kenya Revenue Authority, Kenya National Examination Council and the Courts among others – they are likely to find enough reasons to red card unsuitable candidates’ right from the primaries. Public Institutions execute their mandate on behalf of Kenyans using the taxes collected so use the information.