Crack down on errant top government officials

US Head of Public Service Felix Koskei has read the riot act to the National Government Administrative Officers, accusing some of them of laxity. This is significant, as Mr Koskei doubles up as President William Ruto’s Chief of Staff. Considering his pivotal position in the Ruto administration, his pronouncements are the official government position on the issues concerned.

He singled out corruption as one of the impediments to the delivery of public services. These officers are facilitating the very graft that the government is fighting so hard to eradicate. Liquor and substance abuse, for example, are prevalent in some of these officers’ jurisdictions.

The government’s image is being tarnished by the actions of its own officers. Some of them are directly involved in illicit businesses, which they are supposed to fight. And it could not get worse than this. The officers are also accused of commercialising government services or being on the retainers of unscrupulous business people and racketeers. There is a need for vigilance so that the government is not caught flat-footed. All the officials must adhere to the rules and regulations governing the discharge of their duties.

Mr Koskei has made an honest and candid assessment of the performance of the government officials in the Kenya Kwanza Alliance administration’s first year in office. What the government now needs to do is to go beyond the mere rhetoric and take action to fix the problem.

The officials sleeping on the job and those using their public offices for illicit personal gain have no business holding those positions. They must be immediately weeded out and replaced to enable the efficient and transparent delivery of key public services.

It is only when heads roll and tangible steps are taken to redress the situation that the public’s confidence can be restored.