By Mzalendo Contributor – Moreen Majiwa (@mmajiwa)
In a statement issued by the Minister of Education responding to calls for his resignation he stated unequivocally that he could not compromise corruption with his political responsibility by resigning as minister, that he would be committing political suicide if resigned, he also took the opportunity to point out to his critics that he dealt only with paperwork and not cash.
The utterances made by the Minister are problematic on too many levels to enumerate. Even if the Minister dealt onlt with paperwork and not cash as he stated, the ‘disappearance’ of more than 4billion Kshs over several years without detection could hardly have been a hard cash transaction and is one that is likely to have involved a significant amount of paper work and cover up. Surely the sheer amounts of funds missing and the number of corruption scandals that have taken place in the Ministry under his watch call into account his ability to lead/oversee the running of the Ministry, and as the leader of the Ministry doesn’t the buck stop with him?
Since Chapter 6 of the constitution on leadership and integrity is the benchmark by to which we hold our leaders to account for their actions it could be successfully argued that the theft of 4.2 billion Kshs for free primary education under the Minister’s watch, means that he falls foul of both Article 73 (1)(a)(iv) of the constitution which states that authority assigned to a State officer is a public trust and requires that trust to be exercised in a manner that ‘promotes public confidence in the integrity of the office.’; and Article 73 (2) which states that the guiding principles of leadership and integrity include (c) selfless service based solely on the public interest (d) accountability to the public for decisions and actions.
From the continuing protests outside the minister’s Jogoo House offices and the increasing calls for his resignation by the public, the Minister in the exercise of his duties has failed to promote the public confidence in the integrity of the office and in fact has done the opposite. In his refusal to resign citing political suicide it could be called in to question whether he is indeed acting in selfless service based solely on the public interest? Further questions about accountability are raised when the minister passes the buck by stating that he deals with paperwork and not cash and that he is not responsible, if the Minister, who is in charge of the Ministry is not accountable for missing funds under his watch then who is?