More than 16,000 nominees seeking various positions in this year’s General Election are now at the mercy of the anti-corruption watchdog, hoping it finds them suitable to hold public office.

These are the 16,140 people who had presented “self-declaration” forms to the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission by Wednesday.

EACC Chairman Eliud Wabukala said vetting is underway to ensure only those nominees deemed corruption-free make it to public office.

“The commission is verifying the information to determine the suitability of the aspirants to vie for various seats,” he said. Eleven presidential nominees, three who want to be deputy president, 263 seeking county governor positions and 81 others who want to be deputy governors have presented their papers to the agency.

Others aspirants are: 333 for Senate seats, 361 for woman representatives, 1,964 seeking National Assembly seats and 12,913 who want to be members of county assemblies.

‘CRITICAL ROLE’

“As we face this year’s General Election, the commission has partnered with other stakeholders and will play a critical role of vetting candidates contesting for various elective seats,” Mr Wabukala said.

The chairman spoke during the launch of the “Action Plan Between EACC and Faith-Based Organisations” in Nairobi. He told the attendants that under his watch, the agency is heading in the right direction.

He went ahead to give the progress on the war against corruption so far. Since January, he said, 1,340 people have been charged in court for corruption-related offences.

But some participants were critical of the commission. Editors Guild chairman Linus Kakai said: “Kenyans will only have confidence in EACC’s drive against graft when they see conviction of the big fish”.

Dr Adan Wachu of the Inter-Religious Council of Kenya said the Judiciary should fast track high-profile corruption cases.