ACCOUNTABILITY AS A CORE VALUE
Sofina Merinyo Nelsoni
Recently, the Suspended National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) CEO Geoffrey Mwangi and acting Finance Director Wilbert Kurgat were freed on bail by a Nairobi court. The allegations against them is that they have hampered graft investigations into the National Health Insurance Fund scandal.
If you are not aware about the misappropriation of funds, allow me to summarize the case for you. It is alleged that the NHIF scandal may be one of the country’s most notorious corruption sagas. I do not wish to begin the list from the National Youth Service where Kenyans lost 9 Billion, 1.9 Billion lost from the National Cereals and Produce Board, 2 billion shillings lost through the schools National Tree Planting Programme among others for it is disheartening. It is estimated that there may be about 10 NHIF scandals that have led to the loss of the common mwananchi’s billions of shillings.
I write this article as a victim following my religious contribution to the National health insurance fund. I ask what went wrong. Where did the rope tie the knot? Look at this, just to highlight the nature in which the pilferage of public funds was done. One intriguing case for me was how they exaggerate payments to maliciously divide the proceeds among themselves. One case highlighted is whereby a hospital claims Sh1.5 million but is paid Sh150 million and the difference is split with the corrupt Fund officials.
The care holders of Kenyans hard money are the same people who indulge in squandering it.
The issue may have been discussed in length over the past week however it takes me to ask the question; what happened to accountability?
As a young leader, I am strongly of the opinion that it is the responsibility of each and every one of us to uphold accountability as one of our core values. I would wish to speak about stewardship but that will feature in my next article. Accountability simply refers to being able to take responsibility for your actions or behavior. On a professional level, it refers to the responsibility of completing tasks assigned and performing duties bestowed to you in order to achieve the organizational goals, mission and vision.
I would wish to point fingers, but looking at the history of our nation it does not bear any worthy results. I therefore believe that the solution lies in every individual. Let every man practice their truth because only then will we not sway to the beat of any song that comes our way. Let the country have citizens who firmly stand their ground on the values they uphold. For generations thieves and cartels have been persistent in draining the resources of this country. It is important that persons of integrity also shone through with their achievements. Even then, the solution has been with us all along. It lies in upholding our national values and practicing them in totality. It is clearly stated in the constitution Chapter 2 article 10 that our national values include among others; patriotism, national unity, human dignity, social justice, good governance, integrity, TRANSPARENCY and ACCOUNTABILITY. Indeed, getting back to our case study, there are dire consequences that shall arise from the misappropriation of the public funds. It translates to millions of Kenyans not being able to access healthcare because of the limitations of the fund. The medical facilities themselves all over the country are not able to restock and get equipment to serve the citizenry.
What therefore can we as a nation do to stop further cases of public funds mismanagement. As a citizenry, I look forward to the day we shall condemn corruption and demand resignation of all government officials accused of theft, abuse of office or incompetence. I look forward to the day all those found guilty will be required to return each and every cent of the stolen finances. I look forward to shaming instead of glorification of corrupt officials. Finally, I look forward to the day all public officials shall be required to make their wealth declarations public and declare all their shareholdings. But for now, I continue to gather support through my pen as we work to actualize what for now remains a dream.