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Ombudsman yet to earn respect it deserves

By | May 21st 2009

The Public Complaints Standing Committee (PCSC), also known as the Office of the Ombudsman, has in the past received nothing but barbs from PointBlank. On July 9, last year, we asked why the committee, appointed in June 2007, had taken more than a year to start work (‘Office of Ombudsman must prove its worth’).

And on August 14, we asked PCSC to show cause why it should not be considered a window dressing opportunity for the Government (‘What value will the Ombudsman add?’).

no response

However, today we commend the committee’s chairman, Mr James Simani, and his team for avoiding the slide to irrelevance. They have provided quarterly reports, the latest presented to Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister Mutula Kilonzo this week, and named the worst performers in responding to public complaints.

Given the delays by many ministries, State corporations and Government departments in answering queries raised, it is obvious PCSC has a long way to go before earning respect. PointBlank also hopes the committee’s reports will be put to good use.

Police corruption costs lives

Mr Lucas Oduor is amazed at the way police officers in Migori, "a small but busy town along the Kisii-Sirare road", go about their duties. The worst, he says is the "money fetching programme" of traffic cops.

"There are three main roads that serve Migori, linking it to Sirare border, Kisii town and Sori. My concern is the conduct of some officers on the Sori road," he says.

Oduor claims saloon cars, known as olwenda, have taken over public transport, as they are considered faster. But the vehicles, which should carry seven passengers, break traffic rules without a care.

"Olwenda operators usually carry 14 passengers or more, with some squeezed in the boot. Since the drivers are aware the police are their partners in crime, they usually have Sh200 ready to bribe the waiting officers," he says, adding that the ritual is repeated on each trip.

stop nonsense

But the corruption comes at a heavy price. Oduor says the number of road accidents has increased. However, since this does not seem to deter the officers, he suggests only Police Commissioner Hussein Ali can "stop the nonsense".

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