NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 23 – At his swearing-in ceremony on Monday, the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) Chairperson Eliud Wabukala sounded the trumpet in warning to all public officers guilty of graft.
He warned that the protection they’ve enjoyed thus far would come down; the imagery evoked being that of the Wall of Jericho crumbling to the sounds of the Israelites’ shouts.
“Kenyans, I appeal to you to take up your roles and support the fight against corruption. Do not watch from the sidelines, and also do not be part of the problem. Together we shall surely slay this terrible dragon called corruption.”
He made it clear that during his tenure, where corruption takes place, the buck would stop directly with those responsible for the affected Ministry or department both at the national and county level.
“Fighting corruption should not be left entirely to the Commission. Cabinet Secretaries, Principal Secretaries, executive officers, Governors and accounting officers must take responsibility and should also be held answerable for what happens in their ministries, departments and counties,” he said.
The former Anglican Church of Kenya (ACK) Archbishop said his 12 years of experience as the Chair of the National Anti-Corruption Campaign Steering Committee would serve him well in his capacity as EACC Chair.
Chief Justice David Maraga wished him a better run than those of his predecessors who left office in disgrace.
The CJ told the incoming EACC boss that he is taking over an office perceived to be ‘cursed’ but exuded confidence he will triumph.
“This is one public office that is increasingly acquiring the ignominy of a cursed career. You must also be aware of the fact that this job, has the highest birth and death rate in public service. But someone has to do it and I am glad that the country has turned to a man of faith in the person of the Archbishop Wabukala,” Maraga stated.
“You are up to the challenge and I am sure you will discharge your duties. Corruption in this country has reached endemic proportions. This dragon must be dealt with otherwise the economy will be ruined,” he said.
Attorney General Githu Muigai reaffirmed the government’s resolve to fight institutional corruption in the country.
The AG cautioned the incoming ‘dragon slayer’ that the fight will be unlike anything he has dealt with before.
“There are many veterans here, many of them deeply wounded by the skirmishes of this war (against graft) because corruption has a way of fighting back and when it fights back it’s more vicious and more damaging and those who stand up to tame it must expect to pay the price,” AG Muigai told an audience which included the Archbishop’s family.
“I think, this team could not be in better hands than in the hands of a Man of God, I am sure that when the going gets tough, you will be able to assemble them and invoke your talents from your previous life to bring calm and get the team working,” he added.
The anti-graft chief’s post fell vacant after Wabukala’s predecessor Phillip Kinisu was forced to resign after a company associated with him was named as a beneficiary of funds from the National Youth Service while under investigation by the Commission.