Senators betrayed public trust

The Senate

The Senate building in Nairobi. 

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • The Conflict of Interest Bill, 2023 was designed to curb corruption in public procurement.
  • The amendments passed by the Senate have completely undermined its initial purpose.

I am deeply disappointed by our senators who have effectively dismantled the Conflict of Interest Bill, 2023. This Bill was designed to curb corruption in public procurement and ensure that government officials do not exploit their positions for personal gain.

However, the amendments passed by the Senate have completely undermined its initial purpose, exposing the country to even greater risks of corruption and abuse of power.

The original provisions of the Bill were clear and robust. They prohibited government officers from seeking tenders with public entities and required regular declarations of wealth, including those of their spouses and children.

These measures aimed to prevent the unexplained accumulation of wealth and ensure transparency in the financial dealings of public officials.

Yet, our senators have quashed these critical provisions, giving public officers, including MPs, governors, and ministers, a free pass to openly bag government contracts.

This is not just a minor legislative change; it is a significant betrayal of the public trust.

Blatant conflict of interest

By weakening the Bill, the Senate has effectively opened the door for government officials to influence the award of lucrative tenders to their own firms and those linked to their relatives and associates.

This blatant conflict of interest will only serve to deepen the corruption that has plagued our procurement processes for years.

It is disheartening to see that this move comes at a time when several high-profile officials, including governors, MPs, and ministers, are facing graft charges related to the influence of multibillion-shilling tenders.

Instead of strengthening the legal framework to prevent corruption, senators have weakened it, making it easier for public officers to benefit from tenders floated by State agencies.

The amendments also removed the requirement for public officers to declare their income, assets, and liabilities, further eroding the transparency and accountability that are essential in public service. 

Job Bwomanga - Eminent Peace Ambassador UN