President Uhuru Kenyatta has instructed the Attorney General to publish a bill that will prohibit all civil servants from operating a private business.
This move according to Uhuru, will help deal with runaway corruption that is currently being witnessed in government.
Addressing the recently concluded National Anti-Corruption Conference in Nairobi, Kenyatta said AG Paul Kihara must move with speed to come up with a law that once and for all puts to rest issues of conflict of interest for persons serving in government.
This particularly is an effort to correct the loopholes created by the Ndegwa report of 1971.
The report allowed public servants to conduct private business in order to supplement their relatively low income.
The provision however opened up a can of worms that led to numerous public officials using their offices to award themselves government business.
“State or public officers will have a simple choice: serve in the public arena or remain in private business. Those in the arena of road traffic regulation should not at the same time be players in the industries they supervise,” the President said The head of state gave an example of senior traffic police officers who own Public Service Vehicles.
He said the officers pretend to enforce law and order by arresting traffic offenders, yet when their “Matatus” are in the wrong end of things, they are let off.
“Going forward, parastatal chiefs should not be in a position to use their offices to advance their private businesses, so if it is police officers you have to decide whether you want to be a matatu owner; which is not bad but if you do so then put the uniform aside because you cannot police yourself,” he charged Even so, the president moved to reassure Kenyans of his commitment to winning the fight against corruption.
He vowed to ensure that anyone linked to stolen public assets will be prosecuted. He further decried increasing number of state officers who are caught up in the intricate web of corruption.
“No person is beyond the reach of the arm of the law no matter how powerful and influential they perceive themselves to be,” he warned.
“Abuse of office, bribery, fraud, embezzlement, misappropriation of funds; these are just a handful of the evils that fall under the umbrella of corruption,”he noted.
On his part, Opposition leader Raila Odinga faulted Kenyans attitude towards corruption saying the prevailing practice sanitizes what is plain theft.
Odinga pointed an accusing finger at the legislature who he accused of creating opportunities to amass fat allowances and salaries at the expense of the common man.
“They are adding themselves money for sitting allowance. Mr. Speaker is being economical with facts. Didn’t they say they don’t want to recognize the Salaries and Remuneration Commission, saying Parliament as an independent institution has the right to set salaries the way they like?” Raila posed.