Civil servants in hot soup as President Kenyatta directs implementation of conflict of interest law

President Uhuru Kenyatta, Chief of Defence Forces Samson Mwathethe and Deputy President William Ruto attend the 56th Jamhuri Day celebrations at Nyayo Stadium in Nairobi./COURTESY

President Uhuru Kenyatta has directed the Attorney General to fast track the implementation of ‘Conflict of Interest’ law which will bar civil servants from engaging in private practice.

Speaking during Jamhuri day celebrations, President Kenyatta condemned scenarios where civil servants engaged in private practice in their careers saying that it compromised the integrity of the public sector.

“Is it fair and right for legislators who have control over funds and exercise oversight over the Judiciary to appear in courts as counsel?  Is it fair on the judicial officer hearing the case or the other parties that, one party in the case is represented by persons who can literally change the law applicable to the dispute, control the career progression of the judge or magistrate or are able to speak with the voice of an entire arm of government?” asked the president.

“I, therefore, direct the Attorney-General to fast-track the submission to Cabinet for approval and transmittal to Parliament, the Law on Conflict of Interest, which has been subject to stakeholders’ consultation,” he said.

This week senators Kipchumba Murkomen and Mutula Kilonzo Jr and Makueni Member of Parliament, Dan Maanzo, were representing Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko when he appeared in court over corruption allegations.

President Kenyatta also directed National Treasury and Ministry of Housing to initiate amendments to Finance Act, 2018 to make housing levy voluntary which initially was mandatory.

“To ensure that the implementation of the programme is not derailed any further, I hereby direct and order that The National Treasury, the Ministry responsible for Housing moves to Parliament, a revision to the legal requirement in respect to the Housing Fund Levy, to make the contribution voluntary, with immediate effect,” said President Kenyatta.

In terms of the housing program, he said that 100,000 units are being built as the government targets 500,000 units by 2022.