Monday’s decision to send state accounting and procurement officers on compulsory leave for a month to determine their suitability to continue serving was the kind of radical action the public has been yearning for in light of the feeble fight against corruption.
While the decision bears the hallmarks of mass condemnation of a cadre of public servants, we take solace in the assurance by Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua that all fundamental rights will be protected in the vetting process. Notably, the affected employees will continue to enjoy their normal emoluments while away from work.
The decision is extreme but we are tempted to give the government the benefit of doubt in view of the spectacular failure of more conventional interventions against runaway graft.
Still, questions abound on the efficacy of this strategy. For example, does the government have the capacity to vet the hundreds of targeted officials within the stipulated period of one month? How does the government intend to process all the information it has asked to be submitted by this Friday? Is the period adequate for the affected to submit the detailed documentation?
The government must disprove cynics who see this as yet another cosmetic exercise like the previous vetting of judges and police. More importantly, if it is serious, the state must involve and provide avenues for the public to submit confidential information on corrupt dealings.
Quote of the Day: “Respectable means rich, and decent means poor. I should die if I heard my family called decent.”
The German novelist (Magic Mountain-Nobel 1929) was born on June 6, 1875.