When citizens go to the polls and cast their votes, they aspire not only to elect their leaders, but to choose a direction for their nation. Elections are therefore of utmost importance in any democratic country as citizens have an opportunity to exercise their right to choose representatives.
The challenges of electoral integrity cannot be resolved by politicians and state agencies alone. Civil society and the media must play their part in demanding accountability and transparency. As part of the larger team, the National Integrity Alliance (NIA) comprised of the Society for International Development, Transparency International-Kenya, Inuka Ni Sisi and Mzalendo Trust has been on the forefront in advocating for enforcement of Chapter six of the constitution on Leadership and Integrity.
The NIA launched the Red Card Campaign on 11th April 2017 and declared a 90-day set of actions aimed at ensuring state and public focus on ethical leadership as a key issue on this year’s elections. The campaign sought to raise the voices of the faith communities, unions, political parties and individual citizens who speak powerfully for ethical leadership accountability in the forthcoming general elections.
The integrity campaign targeted political parties asking them not to allow aspirants with unresolved integrity issues to participate in the party primaries. Some parties attempted by issuing guidelines and even barring a few characters but largely failed to act as sieve in getting rid characters with unresolved issues. Frontline vetting institutions like IEBC and EACC were also urged to observe the provisions of Chapter Six in discharging their mandates and offering to support them in this endeavour. The EACC proceeded to issue a list of 106 individuals with integrity issues only for IEBC to clear those characters.
The campaign engaged citizens to take up the vetting role by rejecting candidates who do not meet leadership and Integrity standards. Some citizens from various counties moved to court to contest the clearing of candidates with integrity issues. Citizens were also active in social vetting forums organised by both media and civil society – an indication of their keen interest in choosing of leaders with integrity.
20 Politicians Red Carded
On 24th May, 2017 the NIA members handed over the #RedCard List of 20 to the Chapter Six Working group through the IEBC and released the same to the media. This resulted in a flurry of media and civic engagements on the individuals cited as having integrity issues and therefore recommended for barring by the IEBC. The NIA membership and other interested parties made several media appearances to respond to issues arising from the release of the #RedCard20.
On the eve of the General Elections, the NIA issued a statement urging Kenyans to elect leaders with integrity. “Kenyans have been made to abandon their ideals every time we have an election as politicians set the agenda making the quest for integrity subservient to other interests. On 8th of August 2017, Kenyans have a date with destiny; they have one more chance to vote for integrity. “Read part of the statement.
The alliance noted that it will continue encouraging citizens to demand accountability from their leadership and monitor adherence to chapter six of the constitution and use of public resources.