Lobby groups pose for a photo during the unveiling of the Red Vests Movement against runaway corruption in March.

Kenyan citizens can soon be on the driver’s seat in the fight against corruption if the effort to establish a Citizens Anti-Corruption Advisory Council succeeds.

Speaking to reporters at Chester House Nairobi, organisers of the initiative to establish the Citizens Anti Corruption Council said there is a draft document which citizens will discuss in various fora between now and August. They said the proposed Citizens Anti-Corruption Advisory Council is to oversee the work of the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission, review and assess the investigation, prosecution  and sentencing of corruption suspects and initiate private prosecutions in cases where they feel corruption suspects are escaping punishment.

“The missing link in the fight against corruption is the participation of the citizens,” states Tegi Obanda, the national Chairperson of Talk Kenya, the group coordinating the effort. Obanda said they will petition parliament to amend the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Act 2011.

“The EACC is today suffering from mission overload. The EACC constitutes within itself a full blown police unit without being a police unit. Both ethics and anti-corruption functions have fallen short of delivering any benefit to the Kenyan people. The ethics standardization, monitoring and enforcement function seems to be suffering from acute lethargy, lack of an overarching strategy, and  lack of implementation capacity,” said Obanda.

“The draft discussion document proposes that the Kenya Police Anti-Corruption police unit be reestablished to handle all investigation of corruption cases. The EACC should only focus on prevention and public education. The EACC should be devolved with citizens in each constituency electing one representative to the national advisory council and another to the county one,” said Elias Ong’ondo of Bunge La Mwananchi.

The organisers say that the Freedom from Corruption Walk will kickstart the quest for the Citizens Anti-Corruption Advisory Council. “The Walk will offer one an avenue for average citizens to have their voices heard. The discussion that will lead to the walk will be captured in memoranda that will be submitted to relevant authorities for consideration,” said Ong’ondo.

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“All Kenyans are welcome to take part. A digital registry of walk participants will be opened soon to enable would-be participants to register for the walk in their various counties,” Abiud Ombati of Bunge La Mwananchi.

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