The Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) is a key state organ whose mandate is to ensure goods traded and used in the country are of required quality. However, the agency has time and again failed to carry out its responsibilities effectively due to endless wars amid claims of vested interests. Its current chief executive is now in the crosshairs of the police over allegations of threatening a colleague.
Previous top executives at Kebs have found themselves in all manner of trouble; some charged with corruption and abuse of office for letting illicit goods into the country and for procurement crimes. Some have been hounded out of office because they did not heed to the demands of cartels that would like to have their way to import sub-standard goods. Such incidents only go towards weakening an organisation that is the life blood of the nation.
Countries that take the welfare of their citizens seriously ensure that agencies such as Kebs are well insulated against forces that thrive on chaos. They also have thorough oversight on such agencies so that officials do not use their office for personal gain. Sadly, the situation in Kenya is the opposite; numerous interests have sunk their tentacles deep into Kebs.
The government, specifically the Ministry of Trade and Industrialisation, should step up and deal with the perennial problems at Kebs once and for all. If left to continue, the organisation will soon put the safety of Kenyans at serious risk.