Friday, July 18, 2008



July 18,2008
By Peter Kaluma
The Standard

Demand for accountability and greater openness in Government appears to have increased, following the censure and subsequent resignation of Amos Kimunya from the Finance Ministry.

Public thirst for blood of misbehaving public officers has increased tremendously.

The media, in discharging its public duty of shaping public opinion on matters of governance, readily avail headlines on suspect dealings within Government. Government personnel are today compelled to be pretty cautious while discharging the functions of their offices. This is a welcome development in the precarious coalition Government.

But Kenyans must never lose sight of the need to ensure transparency and accountability in public office, is itself not abused or applied to disguise the pursuit of partisan individual interests.

There is an inherent danger of giving a forum to settle political or personal scores. For this reason, I find the calls for resignation of Immigration Minister Otieno Kajwang’, misplaced and ill-motivated.

According to the Immigration Act, an individual whose application for a work permit is rejected has a right of appeal to the minister. In dealing with the appeal, the minister has discretion to uphold or overrule the decision of the immigration officers.

The extent of official corruption at the Immigration Department is known and documented. This explains the delay in the processing of permits and other documents at Nyayo House. Some senior immigration officers are some of the richest Kenyans, while those who have retired have set up "facilitation centres" for processing documents.

Knowledge that you can directly approach the minister for the documents can only increase the much-needed efficiency and eliminate corruption .

Kajwang’ should be supported in his work at the ministry unless there is good information implicating him in improper conduct or corruption.