Majority of Kenyans want corrupt individuals barred from seeking elective positions

The latest report by Transparency International shows that Kenyans are generally against having the names of individuals with questionable character at the ballot.

The report titled “My Leader, My Choice” indicates a large number of citizens only identify with qualities of good and ethical leadership as a yardstick to elect one to a public office.

In its findings, TI-Kenya says 82% of the respondents indicated that they were either ‘Very Unlikely’ or ‘Unlikely’ to vote for candidates with a history of corruption.

“75%, believed that a person convicted, accused or under investigation for corruption should not be allowed to contest for a leadership position,” TI-Kenya said

From the survey, the non-governmental organization however noted that ethical leadership is undermined by a lack of citizens’ knowledge on existing constitutional and legal mechanisms established to prevent candidates with questionable integrity from running for public and state offices.

Add this to another startling revelation where 59% of respondents indicated that they would willingly accept a bribe from a politician, irrespective of whether the bribe would influence one’s voting decision or not.

“This is among the reasons Kenya needs regulation of campaign financing. Without transparency and accountability on the sources of campaign funds, and spending limits and disclosure on how campaign money is spent, voter bribery and the culture of handouts from politicians, which the latter have cited among reasons for rejecting efforts to regulate campaign fundraising and spending, will continue unabated,” said Sheila Masinde, Executive Director, TI-Kenya during the launch of the report.

To promote integrity in leadership in Kenya, the study recommends that relevant government agencies mandated to promote ethical leadership, including the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC), the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), and Civil Society Organizations prioritize sensitization of the public on established constitutional, legal and institutional frameworks that advocate for ethical leadership in Kenya.

“The institutions should sensitize Kenyans on the benefits of electing leaders of integrity and their duty to report and not participate in voter bribery. Also recommended is the need to harmonize and streamline mechanisms of clearing candidates aspiring to contest for political offices.” She said

The survey was conducted between 2nd and 15th February 2021 shows that Kenyans want IEBC to be the final institution to clear candidates to elective leadership positions after vetting by other institutions and government departments such as DCI on criminal records, KRA on tax compliance, and EACC on integrity concerns, among others.

TI-Kenya says the study was informed by persistent experiences of unethical leadership witnessed in the country, despite the adoption of Kenya’s 2010 progressive Constitution, related laws, rules, and regulations.


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