President Kenyatta appointed 302 Kenyans to various parastatal positions, making a bold move to appoint many candidates who were rejected by voters in the ballot. The move by the President is not only regrettable but also unfortunate at a time when so many things in government are going wrong.
It was an unprecedented move to not only see many rejected politicians being rescued through appointments, but also relatives, brothers and sisters of the same family being appointed. This is really sad as there is no shortage of qualified and diligent Kenyans who can deliver.
Though, it is not wrong to appoint a rejected politician, one must ensure that whoever is appointed is credible and diligent in their work and matched with an appropriate parastatal. In fact, they can bring in some experience and quality that can help steer that organization to higher heights. But this should not be haphazardly done as it seems.
Parastatals boards are pivotal institutions that define and determine the policy direction of an organization. They also approve multimillion shilling projects, paid for by tax-payers money. Previously, parastatals have been embroiled in political and legal battles, some which have not only dented their image but also deprived many of due services.
Our politicians look at elective office as a career and consequently parastatal board jobs are often avenues to fundraise for their next political battles. The consequences of such appointments are many. One, these politicians will resign in due time for the next elections. The effect of this is that the institution will lack their great input over the period of their absence to inform its decisions.
Secondly, politicians are likely to bring their alleged incompetence to the boards. Boards do not perform daily routine of the institutions but as they define policy and approve budgets, the effect of this reverberates in how the organizations are run. Two or so sittings a year can make or break an organization.
Thirdly, the message being sent to Kenyans is that you need to be politically correct for you to merit an appointment in public service. This practice leads to people vying for political office for the sake of it so that when the time comes, they know they may be considered for some appointive position.
Lastly, this practice makes Kenyans lose confidence in their leadership. Leadership is about perception and leaders need to send the right messages in their decisions; that they put the public first. Appointing rejected politicians sends a negative message; that public service is a preserve of a few.
It is in such times that Kenya deserves a Parliament that can ably check the executive. Such a Parliament would call to order and also veto decisions of the executive that are questionable. Our current Parliament is far from the ideal, and sitting MPs need to take their responsibility seriously. Kenyans also need to question their government over every retrogressive decision it has taken. This cannot wait until the elections.