On Wednesday last week, the world marked World Whistleblowers Day. The celebrations, every June 23, are meant to remind people of the important role played by such individuals in the society.
In Kenya, this year’s event happened as one of the whistleblowers in the Maasai Mara University scam, the famous “Mara Heist”, had been dismissed from his employment.
The sacking of Spencer ole Sankare is seen as an act of punishment to him. Sankare, who was a senior accountant when the theft was executed in 2019, exposed how the university administration stole an estimated Sh200 million over several years.
Besides death threats, being sacked is one of the common punishments that whistleblowers suffer. Sankare is one of the few courageous individuals who decide to make it their responsibility to protect public funds from greedy administrators.
However, for his effort to fight corruption, Sankare will bear the consequences, which is his sacking, alone. And just like Sankare, many Kenyans would wish to blow the whistle on corruption in various government institutions but have the fear of being sacked or even losing their lives.
Many individuals encounter corruption cases every day in their respective workplaces but have the fear of losing their jobs, intimidation and threats since they are not assured of their security and jobs.
The reasons given for firing Sankare are just lame and do not describe the offences he committed that justify his sacking. For this and other security reasons, individuals fail to expose corruption or any other offence since there is no assurance of their personal and employment security.
Unfortunately, the government seems unable, or even unwilling, to protect whistleblowers since, when they reveal criminal activities. They are left to suffer the consequences alone. It should strengthen the relevant organisations that are meant to protect the rights of whistleblowers.
The government should create and empower a whistleblower docket at the highest level to ensure the security of whistleblowers since whistleblowing is an important step in fighting corruption, which is rampant in the country.
David Kinyanjui, Kiambu
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The Maasai Mara University method is the way to go in taming corruption.
People from different walks of life, as well as non-governmental organisations, have come out in full support of the “Mara Heist” whistleblower, Spencer ole Sankale.
That is very encouraging and will definitely encourage more whistleblowers to come forward.
What is required is tight protection of the whistleblowers by the state as one of the strategies in the fight against corruption.
Opiyo Oduwo, Kisumu