Corruption is one of the major problems hindering development in Africa. Many African countries are laying strategies to abolish corruption in both the private sector and public parastatals. Not much success has been achieved as yet.
The Kenyan government has come up with a tough policy to eliminate married couples working in big parastatals.
The Kenyan Permanent Secretary has vowed that all the married couples will have to choose who quits and who keeps their job within a period of six month. He argues that married couples working in the same office in Kenya have contributed to the increasing rates of corruption in Kenya.
A radio show on BBC World “Africa Have your say” had listeners exchanging ideas about the proposed government policy.
· "If it is an organization where they are both employees, then it is not proper", said one of the callers.
· It can work where the couple can draw a line between their home and workplace.
· An employer from Malawi does not tolerate couples in his organization.
· “Married couples can demoralize other employees and reduce their productivity,” added the Malawian.
· Dan, a married man and his wife from Kenya agrees to the Malawian employer’s argument, but argue that it also depends on the size of the
organization. “I do not think it would be a problem for married couples working in different regional offices of the same organization.”
· Another caller says it’s a question of maturity.
· “I would not work with my husband in the same office, it wouldn’t work!” says a Ghanaian woman.
Some people are saying that many wrong doing go unpunished in big offices because of married partners covering for one another’s crime.
Others argue that this should be done for the sake of transparency and to eliminate conflicts of interest in public service.
In Uganda today, ‘some’ workplace policies prohibit relationships between workmates though others don’t. However no such policy has been put in place by the government.
Some marriage testimonies also point at the couples meeting at their workplaces!
Many Kenyans agree that there will be trouble implementing the policy and that they will seek legal advice against the policy.
The whole aspect remains a conflicting loyalty. Who quits and who remains?
Will the government implement the policy or revise it?