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New law sets high public service standards

By - | August 27th 2012 at 00:00:00 GMT +0300

By MOSES NJAGIH

The new constitutional dispensation has set high integrity thresholds for public officers, forcing even those eyeing different positions to keenly evaluate themselves before applying.

The bar has been set and those placed on the scale and found wanting have been hounded out of office, as was witnessed in the gun-drama involving Deputy Chief Justice Ms Nancy Baraza.

Baraza was the first major casualty of the stringent demands for high integrity on State officers as she was found unfit to hold a public office after she was accused of misconduct.

The ruling by the tribunal that investigated the conduct of Baraza underlined the raised integrity bar required of State officers.

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Baraza is alleged to have threatened Rebecca Kerubo, a security guard at the Village Market shopping mall, Nairobi, with a pistol when she asked to be screened as part of routine security checks.

In its recommendation to have Baraza removed from office for gross misconduct and misbehaviour, the tribunal ruled her actions showed lack of temperament and ability to perform judicial functions.

Chapter six of the Constitution contains aspirational and mandatory standards to be practiced by State Officers.

Specifically, the code demands that State Officers observe the rule of law, principles on transparency and accountability, professionalism, financial integrity, avoid conflicts of interest and be impartial and political neutrality.

Various enforcement and penalty mechanisms following breaches of the Constitution have been put forward and they include investigation, removal from office, censure, surcharge, civil action, criminal prosecution and demotion.

Incorruptible

Kenyans have rallied behind the vetting process as it is a process that is good for accountability and integrity in order to clean up the mess in Government offices.

There has been vetting of commissioners, Supreme Court judges, Attorney General and commissioners to the Kenya Lands Commission among others.

Specialised commissions and boards conduct the bulk of the vetting process.  Those doing the vetting strive to ensure that the public gets efficient, capable and incorruptible individuals as their servants.

Lawyer Cecil Miller was nominated and subsequently rejected by Parliament as the Chairman of the Interim Independent Electoral Commission of Kenya (IEBC) because of gender violence accusations.

The requirements for high integrity and the thorough vetting process witnessed in appointment processes of state officers has at times discouraged some candidates with some feeling that the screening processes are too stringent.

There have been incidents when jobs have had to be re-advertised after attracting few applicants.

The positions of commissioners to the IEBC were a case example where a re-advertisement had to be done after attracting few applicants.

 In other instances, the set deadlines for applications have had to be pushed further to allow time for more applicants


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