MWAURA: Ruto sent right message on graft war with Kemsa purge

The action signals an administration keen on ensuring there is effective public service delivery.

In Summary
  • As someone said, Kenyans are ready to pay taxes as long as they are well utilised for the intended purpose.
  • For example, county governments are collecting less than the Sh200 billion that they used to collect under the defunct local governments alone.

This week, President William Ruto has swept clean the corridors, hallways and boardrooms of the Kenya Medical Supplies Agency. This is after a looming scandal was unearthed concerning at Sh3.7 billion mosquito net supply tender under the fight against malaria, provided by the World Bank’s Global Fund programme.

There have been simmering rivalries between some major forces that wanted to control the lucrative tender. The top management of Kemsa had come out strongly to claim that the tender had been procured in a procedural manner.

It’s sad to note that not long ago, the same agency ended up having similar scandals during the Covid-19 pandemic, in what came to be known as the 'Covid millionaires' scandal, with people such as David Murathe featuring prominently.

It’s indeed very sad because the country’s economy is still reeling from the effects of the pandemic, coupled with the prolonged electioneering period.

Thankfully, President Ruto has gone ahead and sent packing the chairman, Daniel Rono, members of the board, the CEO and top management of this monopoly that supplies medicines and other medicaments and equipment’s to government facilities in the country. Rono, for example, had only served as the chairperson of the board for only two months.

Further, the President has also sacked Dr Josephine Mburu, the Principal Secretary of the State Department of Public Health and Professional Standards. At the time of her sacking, it is said that she was at the airport, on her way to Italy to represent the country, leading a 17-member Kenyan delegation.

Dr Mburu, who hails from Gatundu North, had only served as PS for six months. Her sacking also necessitated a reshuffle of PSs that has since affected seven otherPSs that have been moved to other state departments.

Faith Njeri Harrison, a former chief financial officer at the Kiambu county government was appointed to replace Dr Mburu. A whistleblower during the Waititu corruption scandal, she has been deployed to the State Department for Performance Management at the Office of the Prime Cabinet Secretary.

President Ruto has also given a stern warning to Cabinet Secretaries that corruption shall not be tolerated in his administration.

In a rather bizarre occurrence, some 200,000 metric tonnes of sugar imported into the country was diverted to another destination by some top government officials.

Consequently, the President has issued a notice suspending those responsible for such actions. The list includes key figures from agencies such as the Kenya Bureau of Standards, the Anti-Counterfeit Authority, the Kenya Revenue Authority and the Agricultural Food Authority.

This is a clear signal that the Kenya Kwanza administration is not going to tolerate any form of corruption within its rank and file. Anyone found culpable or condoning such vices shall be shown the door without fear or favor. It is, therefore, important to note that this administration is keen to ensure there is effective public service delivery.

The issue of the Kemsa scandal was acted upon by the President after he had clearly stated during his interview at State House with journalists from various media houses that he would take appropriate action that he didn’t specify at the time.

Media outlets have been wondering which modality the President would use to deal with the brewing scandal. It didn’t last hours before the President acted on the matter.

Clearly, we have President that is keen on sending the right message to all public servants that it shall not be business as usual when it comes to the superintending of public affairs.

If this is followed through to various arms of government, including county government, then Kenyans shall realise their value for money.

The measures come at a time that the state is keen on raising extra resources through the revenue raising measures that shall be effected once the Finance Bill 2023 has been deliberated, passed by the National Assembly and assented into law by the President.

Complimentarily, it is imperative for Kenyans to see to it that those conferred with the noble responsibility of superintending over public resources do so in a prudent, efficient and efficacious manner.

As someone said, Kenyans are ready to pay taxes as long as they are well utilised for the intended purpose. For example, county governments are collecting less than the Sh200 billion that they used to collect under the defunct local governments alone.

Kiambu county, for example, only collects Sh1 million daily on one type of revenue stream instead of the optimal Sh15 million. The rest of the money is lost due to corruption by way of leakage, seepage and wanton theft.

Going forward, a robust and resilient Kenyan economy can only be realised if stern measures are put in place to combat corruption in order for our rating in the Transparency International Corruption Perception Index to rise from the current 30 per cent to 80 per cent as is the case of other highly developed nations.

This way, the distortions that are occasioned by the misallocation of our rather finite resources to the most unproductive ventures in the procurement of public goods shall be cured to ensure a more egalitarian and functional society and country for all.

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