In Summary
  • Mr Ouko will leave office with memories of the many battles he fought to counter efforts to cut him down to size.
  • Politicians tried cutting his office budget, infringed on his independence and went after his staff.
  • Instructively, his exit will be a relief for the Jubilee administration, which has tried all ways to oust him because of his bold audit reports exposing wastage and corruption in government.

  • Governors, who have often been put on the spot over wasteful spending and routinely dismissed Mr Ouko’s reports as a pile of half-truths meant to tarnish them, will also be a happy lot.

As Auditor-General Edward Ouko prepares to vacate office in August after an eight-year term, the biggest concern for many Kenyans is the person who will succeed him.

Already, intense lobbying has started for the position, presenting a tough balancing act for President Kenyatta.

MANY BATTLES

The Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Kenya (Icpak) has asked the President to constitute a selection panel to start the recruitment of Mr Ouko’s successor.

Icpak is worried that a delay in the appointment of a new Auditor-General and Controller of Budget (Ms Agnes Odhiambo is also set to retire) will impact negatively on timely approval of the budget and audit of various books across the country.

“A process started well in advance will ensure that we do not run into the challenges that have characterised transition in the various commissions,” Icpak chairman Julius Mwatu said.

The Auditor-General’s position is a veritable hot seat with its occupant permanently in the crosshairs of political operatives due to the nature of the job.

Mr Ouko will leave office with memories of the many battles he fought to counter efforts to cut him down to size. Politicians tried cutting his office budget, infringed on his independence and went after his staff.

Instructively, his exit will be a relief for the Jubilee administration, which has tried all ways to oust him because of his bold audit reports exposing wastage and corruption in government.

Governors, who have often been put on the spot over wasteful spending and routinely dismissed Mr Ouko’s reports as a pile of half-truths meant to tarnish them, will also be a happy lot. Mr Ouko chose to fight his battles privately, but a cocktail of ouster petitions here and public humiliation there by the presidency catapulted him into the limelight, laying bare his troubles in public.

“The Auditor-General’s position is very important and the Constitution bestows on it enormous responsibility,” Mr Ouko told a forum attending the release of a report on the government’s war on corruption earlier this week.

KICKBACKS

The last years in office are a pointer to the behind-the-scenes intrigues in the struggle to unseat Mr Ouko.

In 2017, the campaign to remove him from office suffered a significant setback after the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) cleared him of corruption allegations.

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