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Presidential candidates could run for other seats in 2017 polls

Presidential candidates might be allowed to run for other elective office such as MP, Governor or Senator if new proposals by a government audit team are adopted.

The minimum academic qualifications for elected officials could also be raised and the number of county electoral wards reduced by half.

These are some of the key recommendations from an audit on the impact of the new Constitution on the economy and public finances.

The team, which was headed by Auditor-General Edward Ouko, has recommended a wide range of changes to the supreme law to clear up inconsistencies and weaknesses that have emerged in the four and a half years since it was passed.

Although the Constitution does not state expressly that a person cannot run for two positions, presidential candidates at the last elections did not go for any other positions.

The team said that because of this, “presidential election losers who are leaders of their parties are subsequently excluded from mainstream political platforms.”

It says Parliament should consider provisions to allow presidential candidates to run for multiple offices.

“This is justified in the Kenyan situation where political party leaders run for presidential elections. Their exclusion from Senate/National Assembly weakens the checks and balances emanating from those forums,” the team said.


President Uhuru Kenyatta inspects a guard of honour mounted by the Kenya Airforce after he returned from a trip to South Africa. PHOTO | PSCU
President Uhuru Kenyatta inspects a guard of honour mounted by the Kenya Airforce after he returned from a trip to South Africa. PHOTO | PSCU

Cord leaders Raila Odinga and Kalonzo Musyoka have been the most active losing combination from the last election and have been leading the Opposition from outside Parliament.

There were moves last year to have Mr Odinga, the ODM leader and Cord alliance’s losing 2013 presidential candidate, run for the Homa Bay Senate seat after the death of Mr Otieno Kajwang’, but the move was dropped after a public backlash in the County.

There were also suggestions after the abortive presidential campaign that Mr Odinga’s running mate, Wiper party leader Mr Musyoka, take a seat in the National Assembly if an MP from his Ukambani strongholds would stand down for him. Nothing came of the proposal.


The other losing presidential candidates – Musalia Mudavadi, Martha Karua, Peter Kenneth, Abduba Dida and Paul Muite – have been quiet, only making sporadic appearances on the national stage.

The team’s recommendations are contained in an interim report presented to the Budget and Appropriations Committee at the Boma Hotel in Nairobi on Tuesday. The National Assembly committee came up with the idea to have a socio-economic audit of the Constitution.

Mr Ouko said the report was from the first phase of their audit, with the second to involve extensive public participation.

Committee chairman Rev Mutava Musyimi and other members asked the team to categorise their recommendations in terms of what to do administratively, legislatively  and by changing the Constitution.

Overall, they said, devolution is working and “there is information that devolution is being felt on the ground.”

This story first appeared in the Daily Nation