Of late, there has discord in political circles following President Uhuru Kenyatta’s recent declaration on lifestyle audits targeting state officers.
The President is emphatic he would subject himself to a structured wealth scrutiny, followed by his deputy William Ruto.
The audit, envisioned by Uhuru, is a daring attempt to exorcise a demon that has defiled the national purse decades. But unfortunately, this all-important process meant to nail graft beneficiaries risks being bungled.
Reports that a secret audit has started are confounding. Some state officers have had their homes raided in the ongoing purge.
If the concealed modus operandi is allowed to continue, it will reduce the process to a mere political gimmick without public good will and a legal basis to get the job done.
We believe there’s absolutely no reason to carry out such an important state affair in secrecy if the information being sought is sufficient to smoke out culprits. The secrecy raises weighty legal questions, including state officers’ right to privacy.
We must get the framework right lest we run into legal turbulence. It will be remembered that on June 4 when Uhuru issued a directive requiring heads of procurement and finance in ministries, departments, agencies and state corporations to proceed on compulsory leave for 30 days at the height of his anti-corruption purge, the Employment and Labour Relations court momentarily stopped the process. Life style audit will not be immune to court processes.
Let the public be given details of how the process will be carried out. To appease the more than 45 million Kenyans who care about the economic health of the nation, the audit should be beyond reproach.
Rather than summon people in a freaky way to face audit, let the public bear witness to their grilling.
We caution that populism shouldn’t to drive the anti-corruption crusade. Leaders who merely wants to score political goals in the name of fighting graft should keep off the process.
The audit shouldn’t be a phony ploy meant to lull Kenyans whose patience have run out. Let’s continually reflect on the gains and misses.