Update: Here is the podcast link for a very interesting conversation on Wednesday on CBC’s The Current with Eric Bjornlund, President of Democracy International, along with Professor Susan Hyde of Yale, on “The Ethics of Observing Egypt’s Presidential Election.” I think it ultimately comes down to simply calling it as you see it. The ethics of “observation” are thus very different than the norms of diplomacy; Democracy International seems to have done a fine job– saw and were willing to say that the process was not genuinely democratic.
I was surprised to learn, quite recently, that Uganda has a Ministry of Ethics and Integrity. It reminded me of a Tanzania-based expatriate I once met who assured me that her work was in advising a Tanzanian Ministry with an equally improbable name: the ‘Ministry of Beekeeping’ (I have since learned, incidentally, that this may have been a private joke of hers, as what Tanzania actually has is a Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism, within which there is a ‘Forestry and Beekeeping Division’.)
All the same, I have to wonder what that Ugandan ministry, concerned as it is with ‘ethics and integrity’ would have made of the appointment of Keriako Tobiko as the Director of Public Prosecutions – something which seems imminent at the time of writing.
The question is, After all that we have heard, can we really believe that this is a man of sound ethics and undoubted integrity? Were the accusations made by Prof Yash Pal Ghai, merely a figment of the good professor’s imagination, or is it actually true that Tobiko considered the entire constitution-making process as little more than a ladder that he could use to get access to the top political circles, and thus ascend to high office?
At other times, these accusations may not have mattered all that much. In the first place, Kenyans were previously accustomed to a childlike obedience to the dictates of the imperial presidency. In the second place, doing the dirty work for those higher up than you – or even just having the unmistakable capacity for doing so – was a recognized path to advancement in both the Moi era, and the early years of the Kibaki presidency. But times have changed, and there is – I think – a critical mass of Kenyans who are determined that we should no longer live in a country where those in power more or less do as they please, and the rest of us just have to put up with it.
In the circumstances, accepting the appointment as DPP will most likely prove to be not so much a victor’s laurel on Tobiko’s head, as a crown of thorns. As long as he holds this office, every step he takes will judged against his seemingly irregular appointment, and unflattering assumptions will be made as to his motives for every serious decision he takes.
And there is no question that this is an irregular appointment. Nobody can say at this point whether he is guilty or innocent of all or any of these accusations. But it is clear enough that they bear looking into.
. . . .
via Tobiko Is Not Fit To Hold DPP Position–The Star (Nairobi).