KNCHR calls for sobriety in graft purge

February 16, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 15 -The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNHCR) has asked those implicated in various corruption scandals to step aside to allow for investigations.

KNHCR chairperson Florence Jaoko told journalists that it would be difficult to investigate people heading ministries under question.

“If there are allegations of corruption, Permanent Secretaries are technical people but the Ministers take political responsibility.  They all ought to step aside to allow for investigations,” she asserted.

She said ministers were answerable to Parliament as the political leadership of those ministries and should as well be held accountable.

Ms Jaoko urged them to step aside voluntarily and not wait for public pressure if at all they were committed to fighting corruption.

She reminded them after all that stepping aside did not mean that one was resigning or had been found corrupt but instead just allowed for impartial investigations.

So far the Education, Agriculture and Special Programmes Ministries have been on the spot following the loss of colossal amounts of public money.

Prime Minister Raila Odinga on Sunday asked Agriculture Minister William Ruto and Education Minister Prof Sam Ongeri to step aside, a decision that President Mwai Kibaki immediately revoked.

Despite Mr Odinga saying he asked them to step aside in consultation with the government, the President said they had not spoken about the matter.

The KNHCR Chair attributed the move which has ignited political uncertainty across the country to faults in the National Accord which she said was unclear on the roles of the two principals.

She further said the accord did not specify who takes responsibility over what in the government.

“The lack of clarity in the law is one of the things that need to be looked at.  We also cannot have a situation where none of the principals can take responsibility,” she said.

But Ms Jaoko said despite the ambiguity on responsibility in the accord, someone had to make a decision and take the responsibility on particular national issues.

She also said the principals had failed to act in accordance with the accord which stipulates that the two should work and make decisions in consultation.

Ms Jaoko said the disagreements and the confusion was causing uneasiness across the country.

“We don’t need these intrigues now.  We need the internally displaced persons resettled, we want to see serious follow up of investigations and we want to see the fight against corruption.”


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