Court ruling could be a blessing in disguise
The High Court dealt a deadly blow to efforts to revitalise the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission by vetoing the appointment of the designed chair, Mr Mumo Matemu.
In its ruling, the court averred that Mr Matemu’s appointment was unconstitutional because of some issues raised about his integrity.
The thrust of the verdict was that the nominee did not meet the high threshold that the Constitution had put on those seeking to ascend to key public offices.
As a result, the process of hiring the new chairman must restart. Considering the length of time it takes to do this — advertise, shortlist, interview and then subject the top candidates to parliamentary vetting — it is unlikely to accomplish that this year.
And since the august House is likely to be prorogued latest mid-January, it is implausible to say the new candidates may be vetted within the life of the current Parliament.
Taken together, therefore, the country has to wait rather long before getting a substantive chairman to run the commission. Conversely, most of its functions will be put on hold, and that spells doom to the war against corruption.
But there are lessons from the current development. Although the national leadership consistently talks about the desire to eliminate graft, what happens in reality is totally different.
The legal framework and the structures to deliver on this are rather weak.
Second, the concept of having Parliament to vet candidates for constitutional offices is only good on paper, while in reality, it is a political bogey game. Instead of picking the most suitable candidates, it is those who can manipulate the systems that win the day.
All is not lost, though. The ruling has opened a window to start the process afresh, and this time round, we must pick the most suited person to lead the campaign against graft.