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September 23, 2018

Allow Competition For Key Government Jobs

President Uhuru Kenyatta with cabinet secretaries after signing performance contracts at KICC.  Photo/Monicah Mwangi
President Uhuru Kenyatta with cabinet secretaries after signing performance contracts at KICC. Photo/Monicah Mwangi

Before he died, George Muchai, MP Kabete Constituency, claimed he had evidence of improprieties that he had handed over to authorities.

It involved alleged secret bank accounts and corrupt dealings.

This same week, corrupt owners of a UK printing firm alleged to have bribed Kenyan officials were sent to jail for their malfeasance.

The people they purportedly bribed, many of them known, are still walking freely here and some holding public offices.

Consultancy firm, KPMG, in an audit of ailing Mumias Sugar Company, a listed entity, has uncovered massive planduring implicating many known people.

Don’t hold your breath for any prosecutions.

The Director of Public Prosecutions is Keriako ole Tobiko.

Said by many to have been a bright student in his university days, his biggest distinction is lack of a single high-profile prosecution in the time in office despite many low hanging fruits as named above.

On appointment to current office, Tobiko faced no competition.

Charged parliamentarians of Maasai extraction said he must be retained appealing to ethnic persuasions at a time when the new constitution required rigorous vetting of applicants to high office.

It is no coincidence that performance has not been matched by wishes of Kenyans to see impunity dealt with decisively.

I raise this issue because this nation is becoming ridiculous in the way it goes about appointments as if seats must be filled with tribal considerations in mind.

For seats where competition was applied, the results tell.

Chief Justice Mutunga, despite many challenges in trying to reform a thoroughly corrupt judiciary still commands respect among Kenyans and his Supreme Court is well regarded.

Micah Cheserem, leading the Commission on Revenue Allocation is also held in high esteem.

So is Sarah Serem, of Salaries and Revenue, Agnes Odhiambo of Budget control and so on.

What is wrong is to see certain seats as communal with hereditary rights.

David Kimaiyo resigned recently as the first Inspector General of Police.

His successor has been named as Wilson Boinett, a hitherto unknown figure.

This was after clamour in the North Rift that a Keiyo must be named to replace Kimaiyo.

The IG was not appointed as part of the Jubilee MoU between TNA and URP.

He was competitively picked from candidates including the current deputy IGS, Samuel Arachi and Grace Kaindi.

So the question of replacing him with a Kalenjin should not arise.

What we need to see is seriousness of purpose and national outlook when appointments are being made.

Boinett may well turn out to be an effective IG but who knows.

The hurdles that hindered Kimaiyo’s work remain.

An ambiguously defined relationship between the IG and the Police Service Commission that saw embarrassing events such as the IG making appointments only for the NPSC to reverse them and vice versa.

This undermines authority and makes the subordinates look elsewhere for command and creates room for godfathers to come in.

The relationship between the Administration Police and Kenya Police is yet to be resolved and also undermined the IG.

So, problems like these must be what appointments made should seek to address and the individual named must be able to demonstrate ability to do so.

Should he have the abilities and then happen to come from the same tribe as his predecessor, then that is a plus because political considerations will also be met.

In the case of John Nkaissery, the Cabinet secretary for National Security, the jury is still out but generally it is agreed he cuts a more authoritative figure for the office than his predecessor.

But the fact that he has to succeed the much lampooned Joseph Lenku shows why these tribal considerations must be second choice to credentials.

This senior Cabinet position requires people with commanding presence, experience and seniority to be able to deal with the security issues this country presents.

The governor of the Central Bank of Kenya is set to retire.

His has been a tumultuous administration with both highs and lows. He will be replaced by the President.

Tribe should not be the first consideration.

It would be wise to involve executive search bodies such as PwC or KPMG to seek the best three candidates and then the President can pick from those.

In light of the current devolution structure with counties presenting many spending centres across the country, the governor’s job in managing the CBK’s mandate of containing inflation is likely to be tough.

The dollar is resurgent as global oil prices swoon presenting yet another challenge that must be met.

The bank is required to transition us to faceless currency notes which given the drama and upheaval of the last currency tender CBK floated back in 2006/7 is going to be no mean feat.

In short let’s get the best man for all technocrat jobs.

 

Mbugua is a communications consultant and comments on topical issues.

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