No one knows this better than Anthony Weiner the Democratic Party congressman who was forced to resign after weeks of a scandal involving the inappropriate photos he had been sharing of himself on the social networks platform of Twitter were leaked to the public.The 46 year old married Congressman who had been labelled as a rising star had been denying that he had sent the photos for weeks but finally caved in and admitted to his lack of judgement and resigned ,full details leading to hi resignation can be found here.
While Kenyan politicians have not been involved in such scintillating scandals such as those that seem to envelope US politicians whose most recent victim was Weiner,we do have scandals of our own that involve integrity and honesty of the men we elect to the August house and to other public offices.
The most recent scandal to hit the Kenyan press has been the misappropriation and blatant theft of billions of Kenya shillings meant for free primary education.It has been said senior officers in the Ministry of Education wired huge amounts of money that up to now run into 4.2 billion shillings into accounts of non existent schools.The scandals have not elicited much public response which makes me wonder if Kenyans despite the new constitution and having a new CJ are not too tolerant of wrong doing among public officials.So far the Minister in charge of Education and his PS have so far denied any wrong doing and are staying put in their offices.
Last year in March,there was a scandal involving the same Ministry and the PS then one Professor Karega Mutahi who was transferred to the Ministry of Local government and we carried on with business as usual.Now just a few days ago the Minister of Finance Uhuru Kenyatta released an audit report carried out by the government that confirmed what Professor Sam Ongeri had been denying since last year,that indeed billions had been spirited away by people in his Ministry.Details of the scandal can be read here and here.
This makes we wonder whether our politicians and senior public servants ever care about their reputations and the character assassination that follows public scandals.Abraham Lincoln a man greatly honored by Americans for fighting for the emancipation of slaves once said “character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow.The shadow is what we think of it;the tree is the real thing.”.
You will never hear a Kenyan politician or public servant resign for any scandal whatsoever and most wait to be hounded out of office through public outcry or by Presidential decree.These men and women would rather hung their characters and reputations out to dry than admit lapse of judgement or ignorance for any misdemeanours they may be caught in.
It does not make sense however to have your name dragged into disrepute,be caught up in mudslinging and put your family through emotional suffering just because your pride does not allow you to admit you lapsed in your responsibilities and duties.Too often i have heard members of the Kenyan parliament lament how their families and children are being ostracized when they are mentioned in scandals and to me it sounds like they are just begging for sympathy.
Just a few days ago the new Kenyan Chief Justice was being disparaged by members of the clergy for his adornment of an earring,his sexuality and marital status and not for one moment did he blink.Our members of parliament never allow such kind of scrutiny on one of their own and are quick to amend or vote down motions in parliament that would otherwise allow closer scrutiny of misconduct.
It is time Kenyans stopped being so accommodating and complacent when it comes to wrongdoing and being economical with the truth that public servants and elected members of parliament are so fond of.We should start demanding the same high standard of integrity,honesty and character that we have asked of the recently appointed members of the supreme court and the Chief Justice and his Deputy.If we do not do this we shall continue seeing the same theft and misuse of money meant to ensure this country’s children do not face bleak future.Hospitals,dispensaries and other public institutions that are in dire need of funding will continue to lack basic equipment to save lives or to function and the vision 2030 will continue being nothing other than a pipe dream.
We need to see more Ministers resigning not at the behest of the President but because their have a conscience and know the wrong doing they have been party to or ignored in their Ministries .We do not have to see them being hounded out of office because of public outcry but because they know they failed at the responsibilities and functions the 40 million Kenyans have entrusted them with.