Ethical Issues in Governance: A Legal or Political Issue? A Review of Vetting of Public Officers in Kenya

S. K. Sitienei, T. O. Juma

Abstract


The post-independent Kenyan constitution ushered in the issue of vetting of Public Officers before assumption of service in government. Despite this constitutional milestone, Kenyans are still grumbling as to whether this exercise has taken off effectively to meet the Citizens expectations in terms of ethics. This subject of ethical issue in governance has been a hot debate in Kenya not only in the recent past but prior to 2010 Kenyan constitution. Though the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) has been formed, its efforts in clearing candidates for government positions seemed to have met bottlenecks and challenges. The paper seeks to look at highlights on the practice of ethics and context of vetting Public Officers in Kenya, the imperative of the constitution in mainstreaming the issues of ethics and governance in Kenya, and the challenges of the practice of ethics under the new constitutional order. In achieving these, this paper relied on qualitative study method in finding out if there are gains on ethical issues in governance while determining whether they are legal or political. This paper found out that the post 2010 vetting processes in Kenya have not balanced the legal and political issues thus undermining the ethics in governance. It has especially experienced lack of political will (the spirit of the 2010 constitution), again, it ideally should be a legal aspect but the expertise of the vetting committees have been lacking.

Key words: Vetting, Governance, Ethical Issue, Constitutionalism, Public Service, Politics


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