The Ethics and Anti-corruption Commission (EACC) now wants former police spokesperson Charles Owino to explain why action shouldn’t be taken against him for contravening section 43(5) of the Elections Act which prohibits civil servants from engaging in politics.
Owino who is currently the Deputy Director Kenya National Focal Point on Small Arms and Light Weapons will have to demonstrate that he did not contravene the law when he started campaigning for Siaya gubernatorial elections while still in office.
Section 43(5) of the Elections Act provides that “A public officer who intends to contest an election under this Act shall resign from public office at least six months before the date of election.”
Owino is among the 26,536 persons who were processed and cleared by EACC before the August 2022 General Election. He later withdrew from the Siaya gubernatorial race where he was running on a joint United Democratic Movement (UDM) ticket with former Rarieda MP Nicholas Gumbo.
He later suddenly abandoned the campaign and resumed his role in the police service technically leaving Gumbo who was touted as a front runner without a running mate and badly exposed. Gumbo would then proceed to lose the elections to the Orange Democratic Movement candidate James Orengo after hurriedly settling for Mr. David Ohito to replace Owinio.
“Notice to give an explanation on failure to observe political neutrality as a public officer,” EACC demanded that Owino explains.
High Court judge Anthony Mrima had ruled that civil servants seeking elective office must resign six months to the date of the General Election. “They [civil servants] cannot have one leg in public service and another at their elective area. The law was designed to aid them to make up their minds on where they want to maximise their energies,” the judge clarified. The judge said that six months before the election date is sufficient time for civil servants to prepare themselves to meet their fate at the election box adding that a longer period would be unreasonable and a shorter period would be more unreasonable.”