Conflict of Interest Bill will bring radical reform

In Summary

• The new Bill will stop public officials from conducting private business with government

• Public officials will have to make detailed wealth declarations and refuse any paid consultancies

President Uhuru Kenyatta.
President Uhuru Kenyatta.
Image: FILE


On Thursday President Uhuru Kenyatta promised a Conflict of Interest Bill 2019.

Uhuru was irritated that Mutula Kilonzo, Kipchumba Murkomen and Dan Maanzo have been defending Governor Mike Sonko in court. They are lawyers but also senators overseeing county governments. 

The BBI report proposed that public officials should not do business with government but this Bill goes much further. It reduces the freedom of public servants to have private businesses given by the 1972 Ndegwa Commission.

The Conflict of Interest Bill recognises that 'private interests impair judgment' and insists that such interests should be disclosed and, where necessary, officials recuse themselves. This will apply even to MPs debating in Parliament.

Public officials will not be allowed to be paid consultants, to supply government or to participate in harambees. They will make detailed wealth declarations and update the EACC whenever there are material changes.

This sweeping bill will radically curtail the ability of public officials to be in private business. It may even be too radical - for instance, could a private expert join a parastatal board if he worked in the same sector?

The drafting of the Conflict of Interest Bill will need to be carefully checked but, if it is passed into law, it may finally herald the radical change that Kenyans have been praying for.

Quote of the day: "I hope the fathers and mothers of little girls will look at them and say 'yes, women can.'

Dilma Rousseff
The Brazilian president was born on December 14, 1947