Updated: Feb 25, 2020

Illustration by Gamz

The end of a contract means many things to many people. To some, it’s the end of an era while it means the beginning of a new struggle and to others, it means good riddance especially when they have new activities to venture on. Now, about someday this was about the end of a contract and Edward Ouko’s Contract.

Well, his was probably not the end of a contract in its literal sense but it was because he retired. As you read this, I just have one question seat down, close your eyes(literally) look up and think … when will I retire? Just how many years do I have left? When you clearly and honestly answer this question is when you will realize that time does fly and that at the end of your ‘contract’ you will be replaced and life will move on only your legacy will be left to speak for you.

You may not have heard about Edward Ouko mainly because as a country we have a trend of glorifying politicians, drama kings and queens and above all slay queens. Fortunately, he is none of that but its very unfortunate that his tremendous works and legacy were never at the limelight like they needed to be. Edward was Kenya’s auditor general for 8 years.

According to the job description, an auditor general is mandated to audit the spending of all government branches and parastatals to ensure that funds are spent per the budget and that they achieve their intended use. During his tenure, he did a good job to unearth the faults and corruption scandals that were going on in some government bodies. If you think that tendering a pen to be purchased at KES 9,000 is ridiculous then you are new to Kenyan corruption scandals. If you are new then, karibu Kenya, where certain things happen only in Kenya but don’t get comfortable least we factory reset you like my cousin “general” Miguna but it’s almost a new dawn and we are just about to forget all these scandals as we strive to build a new Kenya free of corruption and full of love and unity.

Edward Ouko through his commitment to fighting impunity, and ability to make independent decisions, was able to unearth several corruption incidences at the county and national levels. In March 2019 Ouko exposed a corruption incident in Kisumu county in which one dairy cow was allegedly bought at KSh. 3.7million. His report indicated that through the Department of Agriculture, the county allocated the money in the financial year 2017-2018 for the purchase of 27 dairy Ayrshire cows. According to Edward’s investigations, only one cow had been purchased and presented for audit making the entire purchase questionable. If you are reading this and thinking that in your next life you’d wish to be a farmer then you are part of the problem that we are facing as a country, please calm down and think logically and just ask yourself what you want for your country before you start coming up with such thoughts in your mind.

This story is not about a 3.7million cow but about how one missing link can destroy efforts aimed at assisting and pushing for the common good. At the end of his tenure, Ouko lamented how many times his recommendations to Public Accounts Committee never yielded fruits as he noted that bad politics played a big role in derailing efforts to tame wastage of public resources. He further stated that most of the challenges he faced are that reports from his office would go to the parliamentary accounts committee who then were mandated to report on the same but unfortunately, the report “got lost” (Kenyan slung for was coerced or extinguished) in the process.

Just like Edward Ouko, I am tired! I am tired of waking up at 5:00 a.m. to go line up at Nyayo house after spending an entire hour in the mess that is Ngong Road just to arrive and be told that my passport is “lost”. Lost where? This issue of things getting “lost” is what is ailing our country because they are the root cause of corruption which cartels and slows the growth and development of our country.

Nevertheless, recall earlier on I warned all the visitors not to get cozy with the corruption scandals, now even Kenyans need to rise for the new dawn is here with us. It is for us and by us. The Building Bridges Initiative is not only here to promote unity but to put an end to corruption. In chapter 8 of the document, it recommends the strengthening of public finance management through the office of the auditor general. BBI further promises to devolve the functions of the office of the auditor general to county levels as part of curbing corruption. Hopefully through this, we will arrive at the Canaan we always wanted. The 156-page document has many things but one thing that repeatedly stands out is the aspirations it has for us as a country in a bid to unite us for respect and change. It is for that reason I believe it is the new dawn we have been waiting for and for that reason I believe it’s time we put our differences aside and embrace it for a better Kenya.

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