Team proposes national values code for ministers

Friday, November 29th, 2019 00:00 |
Cabinet secretaries Monica Juma and Fred Matiang’i follow proceedings during the launch of the BBI report on Wednesday.

Cabinet secretaries will be required to sign a ministerial code that binds them to uphold national values and ethos to tame rising cases of abuse of office.

The Building Bridges Initiative taskforce report launched on Wednesday recommends the President should strengthen the capability of national leadership at Cabinet level by selecting individuals who enjoy public and professional respect. 

The President will be required to issue a Ministerial Code that will also seek to stop cases of bullying of junior staff, misleading the public and all forms of discrimination to his cabinet appointees.

“All Cabinet ministers should have a demonstrable track record of integrity that allows them public respect and the high regard of public officers who will serve under them,” the recommendation reads.

To ensure adherence to Chapter 6 of the Constitution on Leadership and Integrity, the report proposes that enforcement and implementation mechanisms that capture and act on breaches should be developed.

Chapter Two of the report on Lack of a National Ethos says that the present focus on financial impropriety, though important, disregards other important breaches of national values such as bullying, misleading the public, discrimination and demeaning public office, among others, that may not amount to criminal behaviour but are clear breaches of the Constitution.

The report proposes that the Leadership and Integrity Act should be amended to strengthen it to ensure it properly implements Chapter Six by putting in enforcement mechanisms.

The Senator Yusuf Haji-led BBI taskforce found that Kenyans lack shared beliefs, ideals and aspirations about what the country can become if all subscribed to a national ethos that builds and reinforces unity.

“This report is a historic opportunity for us to begin willingly defining, developing and subscribing to an enduring collective vision that would lead to a united Kenya equal to all its major challenges.

“It would appreciate and honour excellence in leadership, in the civic practices of citizenship, and in our care and consideration of one another. Such an ethos would be deeply respectful of differences in culture, heritage, beliefs and religions,” the report says.

The committee also recommends that Boxing Day on December 26 and New Year (January 1) should be replaced with a National Culture Day for celebrating and learning other Kenyans’ cultures.

It also proposes that the ministry of Culture and Heritage should use public participation and expert input to come up with a list of national heroes.

“The national heroes should reflect Kenya’s values and ethos, our fight for democracy and freedom, our aspirations, and our outstanding achievements. These heroes should be included in museum displays, curriculum and showcases,” it says.

The officially-recognised living national heroes will be entitled to receive modest public pay if they are vulnerable or destitute. 

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