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Eliud Wabukala must be wary of the EACC Secretariat

COMMENTARY
By Suba Churchill | January 21st 2017
Eliud Wabukala

Congratulations are in order to former ACK Archbishop Eliud Wabukala on his successful vetting and approval by the National Assembly for the position of Chairperson of the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC).

Consequently, Dr Wabukala has been formally appointed by the President as the fifth Chairperson of the EACC. The retired Archbishop is not a total stranger to the fight against corruption in Kenya. Until recently, he was Chairperson of the National Anti-Corruption Campaign Steering Committee. Unlike his predecessors, he will be taking up his new appointment with ideas on preventive measures against graft.

He will come face-to-face with real cases of corruption. He will be sitting with staff at the EACC periodically to give direction on investigations and to get updates on those that have been underway long before his appointment and the progress made to conclude them for possible prosecution or closure.

Wabukala must be acutely aware that his new position is not for the fainthearted. When the position was first advertised in the media, it attracted very few applicants, partly because there is a shortage of good people in Kenya who have not benefited from corruption.

Luckily, Wabukala is taking over leadership of anti-corruption efforts at a time when the country is gearing up for the second elections under the new Constitution. He can begin by ensuring that candidates the commission will clear under his watch to run for elective positions in the next elections are men and women with no baggage of corruption.

To succeed, Wabukala will have to be constantly on his guard in his dealings with his Secretariat. The Halakhe Waqo-led team at Integrity Centre has increasingly acquired a reputation of always being eager to close ranks with any group keen on seeing off commissioners while they remain put waiting for the next lot. The role the Secretariat played in the removal of the immediate former chairperson Phillip Kinisu was suspect. Just as they must have done for Wabukala, the EACC secretariat cleared Kinisu before his nomination and subsequent appointment, only to discover that a company he‘s associated with was among suppliers of the corruption ridden National Youth Service.

Yet as soon as Kinisu was appointed to head the commission, and reportedly expressed his desire to vet senior staff at the EACC, a discredited member and former official of the Jevangee Garden-based Bunge la Mwananchi was at hand with a petition asking the EACC to investigate Kinisu over conflict of interest. Kinisu was shown the exit as the Secretariat remained intact, lying in wait for another head to be appointed.

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