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Use of military to run civilian issues, corruption lower governance rating

By Francis Ngige | December 6th 2020

Nairobi Metropolitan Service boss Maj Gen Mohammed Badi.

An evaluation report on prosperity of nations across the globe has placed Kenya among countries whose governance credentials has plummeted over the last 10 years under review.

In its 2020 Prosperity Index report, the Legatum Institute places Kenya at position 84 in governance out of the 167 countries assessed in what is seen as a reverse of the gains achieved before the 2010 ranking.

Although Kenya is among countries ranked highly in the Sub Saharan countries, it has performed poorly in nearly all governance parameters used in gauging the prosperity of countries. But the country fairs well on democracy that has expanded freedom of speech for the years under review.

The study carried out in the past decade shows an overbearing Executive appears to be the major undoing for the ruling elite with the country trailing in the set out values.

The use of military in running the affairs of government has seen the country rating fall from position 70 to 86 globally as more Kenya Defence Forces personnel join in the execution of civilian roles.

Corruption and unethical issues have also blotted Kenya’s image globally with the report citing failure to tame rogue government officials not respecting oath of office.

Sanctioned for misconduct

On whether government officials are sanctioned for misconduct, the country has been ranked 120th down from position 94 when the last assessment was done in 2010.

The report notes that on transition of power, Kenya has also dropped, emerging position 114 down from 94 in 2010, in what could be attributed to the disputed 2017 presidential election that saw a stalemate after Uhuru Kenyatta’s win was annulled by the Supreme Court.

In the category, countries were evaluated on their ability to subject power transition to the law and Kenya was among the poor performers.

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On the executive constraints category that carries a weight of 15 per cent, Kenya has also fallen behind on the check and balances between the Executive, Judiciary and the Legislature.

But it is not all doom and gloom as the report ranks the country favourably in political accountability at 72.7 per cent. On this score, Kenya has improved on consensus on democracy and market economy as a goal emerging position 63 globally compared to position 93 in 2010.

On democratic space accorded to citizens, Kenya ranked position 37 up from 72. The country also returned an impressive score in setting up complaints mechanisms in government.

Political participation and rights among Kenyans has seen the country emerge among one of the best in the region.

Among the issues sampled, the use of military in running the affairs of civilians seem to have bogged the country down as well as failure by government to reprimand officials for misconduct.

Since his election in 2013, President Uhuru Kenyatta has used men in uniform to run some government projects.

While former President Kibaki sporadically used members of the disciplined forces to carry out civilian duties, Uhuru has tapped senior officials in the armed forces to steer key operations in government.

During his reign, Kibaki upset the norm by appointing Maj Gen (Rtd) Hussein Ali from the Kenya Army to lead the police after a number of security goofs that exposed his administration.

But Uhuru is changing his style of leadership as he prepares to exit the stage in 2022 with now Executive Orders.

From Nairobi Metropolitan Service boss Maj Gen Mohammed Badi, the NIS chief Major General (Rtd) Philip Kameru to government spokesman Colonel (Rtd) Cyrus Oguna the President has not hidden his love for the military as he heads towards the sunset days of his presidency. In the pattern that is slowly falling in the place, the President, moved the struggling Kenya Meat Commission (KMC) from the Ministry of Agriculture to that of Defence meaning that the military are involved in its daily operations.

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