Background and Context
The Constitution of Kenya promulgated in August 2010 established a new threshold and value system upon which a covenant between state and public officers and citizens in the country must be based. The Constitution sought to dramatically change the country’s governance structure to one anchored on among others, values of transparency, accountability and responsible citizenship.
Being the first under the new constitution, the March 2013 general elections also ushered in the devolved system of government. This meant that key constitutional promises touching on governance, integrity and accountability in the management of public affairs would not only be confined to the seat of the national government in Nairobi but would find life and expression at the level of the 47 counties across the republic. In Nairobi, it was expected that this value system and national covenant would be upheld in all the three arms of government namely the Judiciary, the Legislature and the Executive.
The Jubilee administration ascended into power in March 2013 with a manifesto that promised to not only put an end to parliamentary immunity from corruption charges, but also “clean up government by introducing some of the toughest anti-corruption legislation in the world.” Despite laws being enacted and/or amended to strengthen the legislative and institutional capacity to fight corruption, protect whistle-blowers and affirm freedom of information, corruption remains on the ascendancy. In the last twenty-four months, president Kenyatta has made repeated calls for concerted, coordinated action to defeat corruption at all levels of the Kenyan society. Lists of corruption suspects including high-ranking public officers have been made public with the promise of swift action and corruption justice. The buck passing continues as frontline institutions struggle to demonstrate tangible results in the fight against corruption, resulting in diminished public expectations, trust and confidence in either the capacity and/or political will of these frontline institutions.
The Official Opposition has not been spared in these revelations of plunder, neither has its leadership both within and without Parliament shown a persuasive, consistent non-partisan commitment to integrity and accountability.