All heads of procurement and accounts in the government ministries, departments, agencies and parastatals will undergo fresh vetting including polygraph testing, to determine their integrity and suitability, Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta has said.
The President indicated that the exercise is part of the raft of measures he intends to implement to tackle corruption.
“Those who shall fail the vetting will stand suspended. I expect this exercise to be concluded before the start of the new financial year (2018/2019). You will hear of other tougher actions in the days to come,” President Kenyatta said.
The head of State made the announcement at Kinoru Stadium in eastern Meru County, where he led the nation in marking the 55th Madaraka Day — a celebration to mark Kenya’s internal self-rule.
“As we celebrate the good that has been achieved over the decades since independence, we know there are areas which we have not done well. We must be truthful to ourselves and admit that, in the past few decades, a few of us have failed their motherland,” said Mr Kenyatta.
The President noted that individuals trusted to run and manage institutions, resources and safeguard the public interest had turned predators.
He pointed out that through their selfishness, greed and misuse of authorities, Kenyans had been denied critical public services and development.
“Today, I want to address myself to these enemies, who must be boldly confronted by all Kenyans of goodwill in the same manner our forefathers resolved to join hands in the fight against colonialism,” the President said.
President Kenyatta said he has resolved to lead the nation in getting rid of corruption and division —which he likened it colonialism before independence.
He appealed to all Kenyans to join him in the war against corruption.
“While the challenge may look huge because of the way corruption has become entrenched in some of our people today, we have to declare in unison that corruption in all its forms will be diminished from our country. Like colonialism was defeated, so will we defeat corruption,” he said.
The President emphasised that Kenyans must— with a sense of great urgency — join hands to destroy corruption in all its forms before it destroys the country and the future of Kenyan children.
As a step towards ensuring success in curbing graft, President Kenyatta said almost the entire senior team in charge of investigations and prosecutions is new, have been properly resourced, know their mandate and mission, and they know what Kenyans expect of them.
“The Director of Public Prosecutions, the Police, and other institutions in the multi-agency team against corruption are on the move. They are making decisive steps to build strong cases for the prosecution of corrupt officials,” President Kenyatta said.
However, the President said the work of the multi-agency team against corruption will bear fruit when the Judiciary responds by ensuring that frivolous and obstructive use of the court system to avoid responsibility will not be allowed.
“I welcome the assurance of the Judiciary’s leadership that they are with the rest of Government, and all Kenyans, in this war for our integrity as a country,” he said.
The President expressed satisfaction that arrests of senior officials have been made, assuring that there are more on the way.
He warned Government officials, particularly those directly implicated in corruption, that they go to jail as there was no place for them in his administration.
“I will do my part as President to turn Government into an instrument that truly serves you, and that respects the sacred responsibility to build Kenya into a truly prosperous, fair and honest country,” President Kenyatta assured Kenyans.
Noting that corruption has seeped into many other sectors of society, President Kenyatta said Kenyans must seize the moment and play their individual role for the country to overcome the vice.
Deputy President William Ruto, former Prime Minister Raila Odinga, South Africa’s Deputy President David Mabuza, Meru Governor Kiraitu Murungi, senior Government officials and members of the diplomatic corps joined thousands of Kenyans who graced the event held in Meru.
It was the first time the fete was held in the county.