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Punish those who lied to the President

By The Standard | Published Mon, March 20th 2017 at 00:00, Updated March 19th 2017 at 23:16 GMT +3

Doubt has been expressed on some of the figures the Government has regularly given out to corroborate its development record. While President Uhuru Kenyatta recently read out the total number of connections to the national power grid in the Last Mile project, it turns out he was given fictitious figures. Kenya Power employees did not just lie to the President; they lied to millions of Kenyans who despite paying taxes, still aren’t connected to the national grid.

Yet this is just but the tip of the iceberg. Government bureaucrats routinely lie about projects to avoid recriminations over missed targets and deadlines and for substandard work.

Like in the case of Kenya Power, an officer admits that the tax-funded corporation is spending a colossal sum of money “cleaning (sic) previous mess where close to a million metres have not vended for more than three months”.

The case demonstrates how overzealous officers keen to please the powers-that-be, cooked the numbers. In reality, the additional 3.7 million figure that the President reported in the State of the Nation address is not factual.

It is easy to assume also that the contested figures of funds disbursed to the counties is as a result of Government not relying on facts, but on information (in the case of Turkana Governor Josphat Nanok and Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho) designed to make others look bad or good.

Unfortunately because of that, the President’s facts have been called into question. The sums of cash disbursed to Mombasa County is actually Sh21 billion and not Sh40 billion as claimed by the President during a recent trip. Again, it might as well be that it was politics for its sake. But then one assumed that figures and data trundled out by the Presidency are factual.

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In any case, the institution is served by highly paid personnel whose role is to counter-check facts. So, for misleading the President, the officers at Kenya Power Company should pay the price. Equal treatment should be handed to those at the institution who never saw nor heard any evil even as the President was misled and the company had to spend money cleaning up after the litany of lies.