Civil Society and Private Sector Statement on the Resignation of the Permanent Secretary,
Governance and Ethics, Office of the President
Nairobi, 8 February 2005
We, the undersigned civil society and private sector associations and organisations would like to express our anger and outrage at the implications of the resignation of John Githongo from the position of Permanent Secretary for Governance and Ethics under the Office of the President.
As the founder of the Kenyan chapter of Transparency International (TI), Githongo brought to the government ethical credibility and legitimacy whose financial benefits can only be said to be indisputable. Thus his resignation, despite already being framed by the government as being the result of 'professional opportunism' sounds the death knell on this government's purported anti-corruption effort.
The implications of his resignation are many, however much this government may try to dispute them:
First, his resignation makes it clear that the influence of reform-minded civil society actors in government with respect to accountability is over. We are particularly concerned about the fate of other former civil society actors in anti-corruption initiatives as well as in the Law Reform Commission and Kenya National Human Rights Commission (KNHRC);
Second, his resignation makes it clear that of the two parallel imperatives within this government-the first being ethical and reform-minded and the second being corrupt and politically-expedient-the latter is winning. We are especially concerned about the future of the so-called 'war against corruption' in this dynamic;
Third, his resignation makes it clear that the plethora of so-called anti-corruption initiatives need harmonisation and legal standing. We no longer believe in this government's commitment to hold individuals and institutions accountable for corruption. The Attorney-General's office, responsible for public prosecutions, has failed to use its Constitutional powers and has hence become an accomplice to corruption;
Fourth, Githongo's resignation from the position of advisor to the President on matters of ethics and governance, makes its clear that the President has lost interest in the anti-corruption effort in this country. We no longer have faith that the President's personal commitment to anti-corruption exists.
We therefore demand that:
1. The President immediately dismisses all Cabinet ministers and suspends all senior government officials against whom substantive allegations of corruption have been made;
2. The President immediately re-constitute his government on the basis of competence and integrity rather than the ethnic/regional considerations he clearly took into account in his last Cabinet expansion;
3. Parliament consider a vote of no confidence in this government in the absence of Presidential action on the above;
4. Parliament insist on the right to freedom of information and demand to subject to public scrutiny the budget for anti-corruption initiatives in this country and outcomes thereof;
5. Civil society organisations, including the private sector, re-consider its engagement in smokescreen reform efforts such as the Governance, Justice and Law and Order Sector (GJLOS) programme until such accountability measures are taken;
6. Citizens, local businesses and other civil society organisations halt the payment of all taxes until such accountability measures are taken.
In addition, we demand that the President and the rest of the Executive guarantee the personal safety of Githongo and that all human rights and media organisations in this country and elsewhere mobilise around his personal safety as a matter of urgency.
Date: February 8, 2005
Signed by the following civil society and private sector associations/organisations:
1. African Women's Development and Communication Network (FEMNET): L. Muthoni Wanyeki, Executive Director
2. Centre for Governance and Development (CGD): Kennedy Masime, Executive Director
3. Centre for Legal Advocacy and Research International (CLARION): Winnie Mitullah, Executive Director
4. Centre for Rights, Education and Awareness (CREAW): Ann Njogu, Executive Director
5. Children's Rights Advocacy, Documentation and Legal Education (CRADLE): Millie Odhiambo, Executive Director
6. Coalition on Violence Against Women (COVAW): Ms Kamau
7. Constitutional Reform and Education Consortium (CRECO): Wambua Kituku, Coordinator
8. EcoNews Africa: Grace Githaiga, Executive Director
9. Institute for Education in Democracy (IED): Koki Muli, Executive Director
10. International Commission of Jurists (ICJ): Philip Kichana, Executive Director
11. Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM): Betty Maina, Chief Executive Officer
12. Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC): Wanjiku Miano, Executive Director
13. Kituo cha Sheria: Harun Ndubi, Executive Director
14. Legal Resources Foundation (LFF): Jedidah Wakonyo, Executive Director
15. Mazingira Institute: Davinder Lamba, Executive Director
16. National Council Executive Committee (NCEC): Kepta Ombati, Executive Director
17. Release Political Prisoners (RPP): Kangethe Mungai, National Coordinator
18. Transparency International (TI)-Kenya: Gladwell Otieno, Executive Director
19. Urgent Action Fund: Betty Murungi, Regional Director
20. Youth Agenda: Danny Irungu, Chief Executive Officer
For further information, please contact Gladwell Otieno, Executive Director, TI-Kenya, Tel: 2727763/5