Kenya Parliament is failing its constitutional mandate on oversight; endemic graft and fraud in Government-Kenyalivenews.com

Kenya Parliament is failing its constitutional mandate on oversight; endemic graft and fraud in Government
It is deeply appalling by incompetence, unwillingness and compromised nature of Kenya Parliament in decisively tackling theft of Kenya tax payers’ money. It has miserably failed in its core mandate of oversight. It is thoroughly enmeshed in conflict of interest. Parliament should set an example of integrity. It must hold the government accountable for all its actions, including the use of public money and the work of officials

A parliament is a country’s central institution, in its capacity as the primary expression of the people’s will and therefore has a paramount responsibility for combating corruption in all its forms, especially in public life but increasingly also in the economy at large. Parliaments must undertake this task for the general morality of society, but also for its lasting economic progress which vitally depends on honesty and trust.

Corruption is an indication of poor governance and weak institutions. In order successfully to fight corruption, parliament in its capacity as a country’s supreme political authority and instance of control should:

A. ensures that state institutions – including parliament itself – are so transparent and accountable as to be able to withstand corruption or permit its rapid exposure;
b. instill in parliament’s own ranks the notion that parliamentarian has a duty not only to obey the letter of the law, but to set an example of incorruptibility to society as a whole by implementing and enforcing their own codes of conduct;
c. introduce an annual system for the establishment of assets of parliamentarians and their close associates;
d. create clear and fair legislation, including efficient public supervision, as regards the funding of political parties and election campaigns. The proper declaration of sources of income and of potential conflicts of interest is particularly important;
e. safeguard the strength of civil liberties, in particular press freedom and the ability of citizens to form associations for informing the public, including through freedom-of-information acts;
f. protect the independence of the judiciary and the media;
g. have all public expenditure, revenue collection and public procurement checked either by an independent auditing body or by a competent parliamentary instance;
h. take special measures to protect the position and career prospects of ‘whistle-blowers’, that is to say, officials who unmask and report cases of corruption; and establish, where this has not yet been done, a code of conduct for civil servants and public officials;
i. enact legislation providing for adequate and precise sanctions against those who engage in corruption;
j. as far as possible, simplify regulations, permits, administrative procedures and the like, since these open up possibilities to exact or receive bribes;
k. resolutely fight organised crime, seeing its role as a main vehicle for corruption;
l. enhance competition in economic life through clear and fair legislation, by taking a firm stand against monopolies and oligopolies, by reducing subsidies to companies and economic sectors, and by enhancing public scrutiny over the launching and implementation of public projects;

By Ndungu Wainaina