Political integrity as irrational and hypocritical values
Do the high standards of Chapter Six of the Constitution of Kenya breed a dangerous hypocrisy in the political class?
Keywords:political integrity, moral integrity, integrity rationality test, liberal democracy, leadership and integrity, Chapter Six of the Constitution of Kenya
The progressive and transformative Constitution of Kenya, 2010 brought with it Chapter Six on leadership and integrity which outlines the integrity standards required of persons holding or intending to hold public office in both elective and appointive positions. The chapter has been deemed a reflection of the aspirations of Kenyans who are desirous to clean the country’s politics that has been riddled with corruption and abuse of power. This article particularly focuses on the integrity fitness of those seeking elective offices with the aim of interrogating and attempting to bring out the controversies surrounding political integrity in Kenya. This study is premised on the hypothesis that the integrity definition adopted by the Kenyan courts is too stringent and needs to be moderated to allow for moral frailties necessitated by liberal democracy. This moral stringency is presumed to be the reason why the integrity test is seen as limiting political rights and is not currently applied to qualify or disqualify persons running for elective office as envisaged by the Constitution. This article proceeds to make a contribution in this area of law by defining integrity in politics based on the distinctive character of politics which require ethics unique to politics and how its application need not be seen as infringing political rights by showing how democracy is adapted to a country’s unique circumstances and priorities without undermining the fundamentals of the ideal.