At no time in the history of Kenya have integrity issues been highlighted at a scale like the previous one month. These alleged integrity issues have spotlighted corruption and abuse of abuse by key officers in the public service including Parliamentarians, cabinet secretaries and heads of various public institutions.
In the National Assembly, the focus has been on the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), albeit even the Agriculture committee members are alleged to also have been compromised to alter findings of investigations. The Powers and Privileges Committee probed PAC affairs and tabled its findings in the National Assembly.
The Powers and Privileges committee findings were far from robust, which would have helped to stem the vice, and also send a clear message that corruption will not be condoned in the August House. They simply requested four MPs who made unsubstantiated allegations to apologize or miss four sittings, the four members were banned from PAC and a new committee be constituted within 7 days.
The committee would have laid a major milestone, if it had made public its findings on involvement of senior civil servants in corrupt deals and recommended actions should be taken against them and any other person. Maybe the committees work was hindered by the ongoing investigations by the Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission (EACC).
According to the EACC’s list of shame senior state and public servants stand accused of various corruptions related issues like abuse of office, flaunting procurement procedures, mismanagement and embezzlement of funds.
The President set a 90 day period for them to step aside and pave way for investigations, a process which is currently ongoing. It is unfortunate that a timeline was set to unearth the alleged rot. A timeline restricts the ability to work independently and conclusively, but perhaps EACC will do a good job.
It is critical that the process does not turn out to be a public relations exercise. In the past, all officers who were asked to step aside went back to their positions. It is this skepticism that greets many Kenyans, including how the PAC investigations were handled and determined.
What all these bring out is poor adherence to the rule of law in public service and diligence in executing public duties. It should be noted that Kenyans have been fighting issues of poverty, ignorance and disease since independence. These actions by public servants cast aspersions on ensuring that these three issues are a thing of the past soon.
Leadership comes to mind when talking about integrity and enabling a country move forward. As noted earlier, one does not have to be proved guilty, for them to resign from office, pave way for proper investigations and instill public confidence.
It is this confidence that ensures people provide information to defeat vices in society like insecurity, theft and other unlawful acts. But all must walk the integrity talk for Kenya to be what it can be, a great nation.