Kenyan state workers face anti-corruption vetting, including polygraphs

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on Friday ordered government procurement officials to undergo fresh vetting in a crackdown on corruption, a process that includes lie-detector tests.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta urged Kenyans to confront corruption across all facets of life as he implemented a crackdown on government corruption Friday. File Photo by Cia Pak/United Nations
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta urged Kenyans to confront corruption across all facets of life as he implemented a crackdown on government corruption Friday. File Photo by Cia Pak/United Nations

Speaking at Kinoru Stadium in Meru County, he said those who fail the tests will be fired immediately. The vetting was expected to conclude before the end of June.

“As we celebrate the good that has been achieved over the decades since independence, we know there are areas which we have not done well. We must be truthful to ourselves and admit that, in the past few decades, a few of us have failed their motherland,” Kenyatta said.

The announcements came amid a number of corruption scandals involving government officials, including 54 who were charged Monday for stealing nearly $100 million from the National Youth Service, which provides vocational training for young people.

“We must, with a sense of great urgency, destroy and eliminate corruption in our country before it fully destroys us and the future of our children,” Kenyatta said. “The war against corruption must be fought and won by all of us, particularly that which compromises public service.”

The president called on Kenyans to confront corrupt leaders and call them to accountability.

“We know of teachers who impregnate students. Preachers who swindle their flocks. Lawyers who defraud clients. Architects building houses using shortcuts leading to collapse of such buildings. Doctors giving false diagnoses to increase their fees. Pharmacies selling fake medicine,” Kenyatta said.

“Unfortunately, these crooks have become heroes. Too often, some of the worst rogues are welcomed back home like conquering celebrities.”

By Danielle Haynes