With each passing day, President William Ruto continues to record and shape his legacy with defining actions and pronouncements that inform policy shifts. In his quest to change the country for the better, Dr Ruto should not relent on the fervent commitment he made to the people during and after the campaign trail that included economic recovery from the base up, draining the swamp of vicious cartels and making institutions work.
‘Mambo matatu’ has found itself in our lingo and would be a clarion call to crush the rapacious cartels that have permeated the inner sanctum of our governance systems. By ruthlessly going after them with the three options that have no escape route, Ruto will have done something that will surely outlive him. The noise and relentless defensive antics employed by purveyors of graft and merchants of impunity clearly tell us that the ‘mambo matatu’ spur struck a raw nerve.
When Ruto is done fixing healthcare, chronic unemployment and soaring cost of living through agriculture and other long-term interventions, he must devote energies to cementing an enduring legacy on how to inject verve and working systems in public service. It is common knowledge that much is not expected in public services that are characterised by a bad working culture, laissez-faire attitude and weak accountable systems that have subjected the public sector to ridicule.
A reliable, seamless system where service delivery is the core mandate is the mark Ruto should endeavour to leave. Every Kenyan seeking service from any government agency must be guaranteed of excellence and impeccable delivery. This will be achievable when all the middlemen, the to-go-to people, cartels, busybodies, influence peddlers and compromised civil servants are rid of the service. In radical measures to reduce wastage, profligacy and galloping bottlenecks in public service, Ruto will make it unattractive to the greedy and crafty fellows whose single motivation to enter the service is to loot and self-aggrandisement.
There is absolutely no justification for senior State officers to be cruising around with fleets of top-of-the-range Toyota Land Cruiser Prado, 70th-anniversary VXLs disorienting Kenyans on public roads. Why would ministries be paying rent at ridiculously exorbitant rates in high-end suburbs when the government offices are lying in neglect and only need a bit of tidying up by way of refurbishment? The less said about the cost of running the State offices the better. It is perhaps time to rethink the public service appraisal regime and come up with an innovative mechanism that will get the best out of employees.
The working culture, punctuated with complacency brought about by assurances of permanent and pensionable terms must be re-evaluated. The service should only attract those who are willing to stake it out, and diligently slog out to serve their country and God in the fulfilling spirit of patriotism.
A stable, self-regulating and revamped public service will outlive individuals and will be an eternal reward to Kenyans now and in future. Deliberate, strategic and an all-out war on endemic corruption will do Kenyans untold good. Paying lip service, superficial efforts for the kicks and waging it for political reasons has clawed back efforts and emboldened the bad elements.
It is unimaginable that previous officeholders who looted the country to its bones now lecture hard-working Kenyans on good governance and prudent use of resources while at the same time deploying ill-gotten wealth to unleash mayhem and sow discord. Public offices should be sacrosanct and value systems should be embedded deeply.
It cannot be business as usual when graft cases take years to be determined while the suspect's scheme how to pilfer, knowing full well that all cases are bailable. The broken system must be fixed. Nothing can be heart-rending than witnessing innocent hardworking Kenyans break down as their life savings go up in flames by way of being duped by mountebanks on the prowl.
Mr Cheruiyot is the Senator for Kericho and the Senate Majority Leader. @AaronCheruiyot