As from yesterday and in the next seven days, Kenyans will be discussing corruption that has been happening in the Office of the President thanks to KTN’s series, Graft Diaries. As we will take to Twitter and Facebook to lament over corruption and ask for personalities to be fired, it is important to have a critical look at corruption and how Jubilee government has attempted to deal with it.
In particular, we would like to discuss the steps that have been taken by the Jubilee government to stem out corruption including:
- The call by the president that the corrupt should change
- Threats to EACC and DPP to prosecute high profile cases
- Implementation of technological solutions to prevent corruption from occurring and
- A quick glimpse on how Singapore fought corruption
The call by the president that the corrupt should change
In early February last year, President Uhuru Kenyatta admitted that there is rampart corruption in the Office of the President. He made the admission during the launch of Inter-security agency Rapid Results Initiative (RRI) at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre (KICC) in Nairobi. Five days after the admission, Daily Nation reported that the President was planning a crackdown on corrupt officials:
“Mr Kenyatta has also shuffled the working arrangements of other key officials, bringing Mr Francis Kimemia, the Secretary to the Cabinet, to State House. Mr Kimemia had been working from Harambee House, using the same office he had when he was Head of Public Service. The Chief of Staff and Head of Public Service, Mr Joseph Kinyua, will work three days a week from Harambee House in what is being seen as an effort to take a firmer grip of senior government officials. His main office is at State House.”
Several speeches, including the speech made during the official launch of the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission Strategic Plan 2013-2018, have had the President reiterate his commitment to implement laws, policies, and regulation for fighting corruption. What can be deduced from these speeches is that the President doesn’t want to wield his powers against the corrupt but that he has a strong hope that the corrupt can and should change.
For example, reporting on the President’s admission of the existence of corrupt practices under his office, Kenya News Online wrote, “the president was quick to put on notice public officers within his office warning them that their days were numbered unless they changed their behavior“. During the launch of EACC strategic plan, the President said, “I instructed our anti-corruption agencies to map out every key service used by wananchi on a regular basis, and to identify ministries and government departments that top in the corruption index; and where willingness to change was below the standard we expected.”
Two things are clear from the foregoing; that the president knows there is corruption in public offices together with those practicing the vice and that he is unable to take firm action against the culprits but would rather have them change their corrupt behaviors.
My question at this point would be, if they changed, will their previous corrupt deals go unpunished?