What is the meaning of corruption? “Dishonest or fraudulent conduct by those in power, typically involving bribery.”
Over the last few days headlines about top Government officials summoned to the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) by Statehouse have dominated the Parliament news. President Uhuru Kenyatta suspended four Cabinet secretaries and most on the “list of shame” are expected to resign. There have been claims that most on this list are from the Opposition and United Republican Party. Personally I don’t believe that should matter too much but the fact that an action like this has taken place half way into Jubilee’s term is a wake up call for the entire National Assembly, Senate, Civil Servants and the people of Kenya. You can be taken to task for your non-performance or even over-performance especially in matters that are giving you personal gain and not for the better of the country.
When US President Abraham Lincoln said that he wanted “Government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the Earth” he didn’t realize he was setting a precedent for time to come.
If our people in the Government are caught cheating, misusing their public office or diverting the country’s course from development and progress then they should be held accountable.
A simple sales team in any office faces the need to work hard up to their KPIs (key performance indicators) and if they fail then they also loose their commission. So why should a public officer not face similar consequences?
The EACC is a public body established under Section 3 (1) of the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission Act, 2011.
As per Section 4 of the Act: The Commission shall consist of a chairperson and two other members appointed according to the provisions of the Constitution and this Act.
Section 16 (1) of the Act states that: The Commission shall, through an open, competitive and transparent process, and with the approval of the National Assembly, appoint a suitably qualified person to be the Secretary of the Commission. (http://www.eacc.go.ke/)
More than which party these ministers represent, what worries me is the type of their ministries which include Agriculture, Transport, Infrastructure, Labour, Energy, to name a few. What is this telling you? It doesn’t take too much to see that Kenya even though has received a Middle Income status has yet got so much to achieve, for example infrastructure, transport and energy policies. Is this strategy a part of the Jubilee plan to clean up the Government and start afresh? We need to keep moving forward, I still remember the days leading up to the General Elections there was mega publicity of Uhuruto within Nairobi city showing a promise for a better Kenya. Ministers get fired in most Governments around the world and this should not be that shocking. This comprehensive dossier is being criticized for how it was made and who made it. Again, does it matter? Naming and shaming is a major step forward in fighting corruption and making the business of the Government, the business of the people.
An after thought is should these officers resign? American writer John Steinbeck couldn’t have put it better, “power does not corrupt. Fear corrupts… perhaps the fear of a loss of power.” An end to their career is an end to their power.
Standing up for the fight against corruption is difficult for any Head of State because that can mean turning friends into overnight enemies; especially those that could have helped you get into the powerful position. But then again, that is the game of politics, what remains to be seen is how effective is this move, what is the next strategy and how will the country gain from the loss of such officers. Who pays the price?