By JANE GOIN
NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 20 – Civil society organisations under the umbrella of The Devolution Forum have given President Uhuru Kenyatta seven days to address Kenyans on what the government is doing to counter corruption in the country.
Africa Centre for Open Governance Executive Director Gladwell Otieno further urged President Kenyatta to liaise with the civil society in developing a framework to counter the corruption allegations that have plagued the government and come up with practical solutions.
“President Uhuru Kenyatta should address the country within seven days on what he proposes to do to address the runaway corruption that has engulfed his government. If the president fails to do so, we shall begin a public mobilisation for the direct citizen action to address the problem of corruption in the country,” said Otieno.
John Githongo the INUKA Kenya CEO expressed concerns over the escalating cases of corruption which he said were negatively affecting infrastructure development in the country.
He urged the President and Deputy President to walk the talk and act on those who have been linked to corruption.
“It’s very good to hear the Deputy President talking about corruption, we have also heard the President talking tough about fighting corruption; we are waiting for action. Eventually the talk becomes more and more hollow as it is repeated because we begin to lose confidence in it. You do not want a dog in your house that only barks and does not bite,” posed Githongo.
They called on the President to ensure those found guilty were dealt with promptly to ensure Kenya does not go through another Anglo Leasing scam.
Githongo called for the overhaul of the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) which has recently been dogged with controversy after some commissioners were alleged to be involved in corruption.
Already a petition has been presented to Parliament calling for the removal of Chairman Mumo Matemu and Vice Chairperson Irene Keino from office.
“The petition states that Mumo Matemu and a member Ms Irene Keino of the EACC are in serious violation of the Constitution and the Ethic and Anti-Corruption Act and Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Act and the Penal Code. They have shown gross misconduct in the performance of their duties as commissioners and last they are incompetent in the management of the commission,” Speaker Justin Muturi told the House Thursday.
“The mistake we often make is we get wedded to individuals. The institution of the EACC is in the constitution but if it means we move the individuals who are running it now and replace them with people in whom we can have public trust, let us do that sooner rather than later. Otherwise the result will be politicised and legitimatised and we will not get very far,” added Githongo.
Ndung’u Wainaina of the International Centre for Policy and Conflict took a swipe at Parliament saying it had failed the integrity test while urging the leadership to first acknowledge that Kenyans had lost faith in them and try to nurture back the trust.
There is nothing that is going to redeem the institution of the National Assembly unless they sit down, look each other in the eye and say we have betrayed our country,” said Wainaina.
“They have to completely overhaul the entire system of the National Assembly, they have to strengthen the individual member’s accountability and they have to remove conflict of interest.”
They also claimed that since the Jubilee administration came into power, corruption had become rife pointing out that as at now there were over 20 corruption cases.
“While most of them involve unbelievably large sums of money that could have gone into critically needed services, others implicate public officials like members of IEBC in whom the public expects unquestionable integrity,” added Otieno.
They were deeply concerned that the institution tasked with dealing with corruption was in itself riddled with cases of graft urging the leadership to quickly find a solution to the issues affecting EACC as it was negatively affecting the fight against corruption.
Also present during the meeting were representatives from Transparency International and The Institute for Social Accountability (TISA).