Kenyan President Reorganizes Cabinet in Corruption Fight

  • Five secretaries fired after being put on leave in March
  • Departments added to boost transparency in procurement

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta fired cabinet secretaries who were suspended this year after being caught up in corruption investigations, in a widening crackdown on graft.

The cabinet shuffle took place the day after Kenyatta deemed corruption as a threat to national security, citing a scenario in which officials can take bribes that lead to attacks by terrorists. The country has seen over the past few years high-profile assaults, including on a mall in the capital, Nairobi, and a university, by Islamist militants based in neighboring Somalia.

Five secretaries dismissed in the reorganization had been put on a leave of absence in March to pave the way for investigations following allegations of corruption in their ministries. They include Davis Chirchir, who was replaced as energy secretary by lawmaker Charles Keter, and Michael Kamau, whose position as transport minister will be taken over by James Macharia, currently the health secretary.

Henry Rotich was retained as head of the National Treasury.

The objective of the reorganization “is to enhance efficiency of the public service” and “ensure the accountability of public officials in the discharge of their mandate,” Kenyatta said in a televised addressed on Tuesday. The changes are subject to parliamentary approval.

The president also added a new government ministry, taking the total to 20, and increased the number of state departments to 41 from 26, with a view to strengthening the government’s procurement process. About 70 percent of corruption takes place during procurement, according to Kenyatta.

Kenya ranked 145 out of 177 nations on Berlin-based Transparency International’s 2014 Corruption Perception Index that measures perceived corruption around the world.

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