State officials must use public services, taskforce suggests

Friday, November 29th, 2019 00:00 |
University of Nairobi School of Law dean Patricia Kameri addresses delegates at the Bomas of Kenya on Wednesday. Photo/PD/SAMUEL KARIUKI

All government officials and their families will be required to use public facilities such as schools and hospitals, if a radical proposal by the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) team is passed.

The recommendation contained in Chapter Three of the BBI final report will put government officials who prefer seeking such services abroad, right in the shoes of common Kenyans.

“Part of choosing to be a Cabinet member or to be a PS, and their equivalent in the counties, is to be ready to have ‘skin in the game’ in using the services that you develop and manage on behalf of all Kenyans. If it is good enough for Kenyans, it should be good enough for you,” the report says in part.

The team proposes this requirement should be clearly spelt out in the Ministerial Code.

“For instance, the children of the Education minister should make use of public schools; the Health minister should use public healthcare; and so forth. All ministers should use public facilities and services. These principles should be reflected in the counties with the County Executives,” the report says.

Some Africa leaders who have come under fire for seeking treatment in overseas hospitals instead of  using facilities at home are Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, Patrice Talon (Benin) and Jose Eduardo Dos Santos (Angola). 

In Kenya, the practice has been the same but some government officials have gone against the grain in the past.

Take what you preach

In September 2005, then Health Minister, Charity Ngilu — now Kitui Governor— was admitted to Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) for treatment.

 In her remarks during the launch of the BBI report at Bomas of Kenya on Wednesday, University of Nairobi School of Law Dean Patricia Kameri Mbote said she cannot be at a top position in a local institution of higher learning, and her children study abroad.

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