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Accountability in the public sector still a nightmare

The new Kenyan constitution of 2010 changed from politically appointed and nominated Ministers to Cabinet Secretaries. From experience Kenyans realized that corruption was coming from men and women that were politically elected or nominated and assigned state offices by the Powerful President. In such scenario it was easy for the President to use them for corrupt deals and exploit his authority to get away with economic crimes. The new law states that Cabinet Secretaries must be none political elite but professionals. Such professionals must be recruited on merit and must only handle their work as professionals. No politician should be nominated by the President. The Public Service Commission must advertise vacancies in the public positions…receive applications, shortlist the candidates, invite them for interview. The selected individuals should be presented to the President, the Head of State and Government for appointment. The President has prerogatives either to accept the names or reject them without any explanation. The accepted candidates shall be sent to Parliament for vetting and approval. The Parliament can as well accept or reject the whole list or some individuals. This process shows transparency in the system. It also looks at regional balance and qualifications of the individual.
The reason for such long recruitment process is to ensure that the public gets proper quality service and in accordance with international standards. It shows more credibility in governance. It is a way of holding the officer accountable for the work under his or her charge, the Ministry. It would be a blunder for a CS to be the whistle blower and distance himself or herself from the evil. The CS must prove to the public and to the government her efforts to impede the action on time…but it would be an excuse to claim that he is not the accounting officer. Likewise it is illogical to claim that the CS is a witness… the State is not appointing CS’s to do the watchdog duty but to manage the Ministry. How can a manage say, I am not responsible or liable to any crime committed in his Ministry? He has the powers to sack and even demote an officer or take legal action if necessary. He is in charge of the disciplinary action under the approval of the President in matters of service delivery. It is very wrong to claim that CS is not an accounting officer and can only present himself in any crime as an eyewitness or an expert witness in court.
Why the government has failed to follow the right and constitutional procedures while appointing state officers is not very clear. Why the Cabinet Secretaries are appointed directly by the President without due diligence recommended by the law is a mystery. It is unclear whether vacancies are duly advertised and proper selections are done by the right body. Whether the provision of none political state officers to manage the Ministries is observed or not is not very clear. If anything, the President is the first to uphold the constitution and to ensure respect and regard to the law of the land. This is an open debate…The accounting officer of the state and Government is the President…the accounting officer at the Ministry is the Cabinet Secretary.
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About Peter Onyango

Dr. Peter Onyango O. is one of our main contributors. He is a senior law lecturer, a writer, a consultant, peace ambassador, and a researcher. He assists so many professionals, legal minds, and debaters with his skills and scholarly wealth! He supports children and village community as a way of giving back to community. He edits, proof reads, and publishes various articles for our page!

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