Though founding fathers did not list corruption together with poverty, disease and ignorance as our leading problems, since the Kenyatta regime became notorious for grabbing public land and other properties, graft has been identified as a problem to solve to advance economically, socially and politically.
In Kenya, research surveys continue to show corruption as an integral part of our daily pains, a problem over which we have no power. Though corruption eats into our soul every day, reducing our ability to reject it, we cannot surrender and must as often as possible take a position against it.
At the very least, this will make us cleaner people. Even though we may disbelieve, it reassures every time President Uhuru Kenyatta announces his intention to fight corruption, important because no war against corruption can succeed unless the president leads it.
However, it is my considered view that Kenyans should not place too much hope on President Uhuru ending corruption since neither him nor Ruto are ideological foes of corruption. Most of our problems stem from corruption because it distorts our economy from solving to creating problems.
In short, corruption means stealing from others and gearing our thoughts and activities to actualising theft. Corruption also makes enemies of all those who will steal from one another.
Other than creating poverty, anger and enemies, corruption also makes government and country private property of leaders; takes food from the mouths of babies; kills the sick in hospitals, lets in terrorists to kill; allows defective vehicles onto our roads to kill thousands; allows criminals to steal hundreds of billions from government coffers; kills youth with drugs and alcohol; sells leadership to thieves and bars persons of integrity from leadership.
President Uhuru and Deputy President Ruto cannot eliminate corruption because they believe in capitalism, the mother of graft and the ideology of greed. Corruption in Kenya is everywhere, polluting the soul of every individual and every institution. It is in government, in schools, in the police, on roads, in hospitals, in media, in churches, everywhere.
We wrongly believe fighting corruption only means arresting and jailing corrupt people.
The harder part is teaching the entire country the ideals and taboos of fighting graft. As in fighting disease, in fighting graft, prevention is better than cure. Many doubt President Uhuru’s intention to wage war against corruption because, in a country flooded by corruption, we see no casualties paraded in courts for corruption, we hear no protestations against arrest and prosecution, and there are no anticorruption campaigns in our cities, towns, villages, schools, churches, radios and televisions.
Corruption cannot be fought in silence. President Uhuru has power and enjoys goodwill to fight corruption. But to fight graft he needs more than power. He needs own reasons to declare war against graft, political will to fight and total conviction that corruption is his personal enemy.
Yet to regard corruption as a personal enemy, graft need to have hurt President Uhuru at a personal level. Has it? If Uhuru and Ruto have benefited more from graft than they have been hurt by it, their war against graft will be stillborn.
To realise difficulties of fighting corruption we need to acknowledge its various tentacles.
Most fundamental is corruption inherent in capitalism, our economic system or socialism gone mad. Where there is corruption of the system, fighting it will require revolutionary efforts. But if our leaders believe in capitalism, they cannot fight it and profit from the system. Corruption is very difficult to fight when it is founded on greed, the ideology of capitalism that we don’t currently question – theft is fair, exploitation is smart and loot is legitimate.
It is fair for a smart thief to keep his loot if he is uncaught.
If President Uhuru and Deputy President Ruto have decided to fight graft, they will find it easier to fight petty than grand corruption. After all, petty thieves will not come from their class. President Uhuru might even believe that old graft no longer smells and may no longer need fighting like raw corruption which still smells foul.
But logic will dictate equality of treatment between old and new graft. If Uhuru and Ruto benefited from old graft, fighting new graft will be impossible.
Experience also teaches that fighting the corruption of other people from other places and communities is easier than fighting corruption of our family members, friends and ethnic communities.
Ultimately the most difficult corruption is graft that has captured power and is in government. It will use government resources to defend itself. It is lack of ideological capacity and political will that researched and investigated corruption as reported in Controller and Auditor General, Ndung’u Report, Transparency International and TJRC has not been prosecuted by various Kenyan governments including this one of Uhuru and Ruto.
Kenyan corruption has progressed in quantity and quality and no longer cares about life. Like mafia, it kills those who will expose or wish to eradicate it.
The worst is our moral corruption that kills soul of the nation and individuals we read about everyday killing spouses and children in homes and often, uncaring drivers and travelers on our roads.
Kenyan corruption has grown intractable because it does not fight alone. It is has allies in negative ethnicity that will protect “own” graft and political leaders who resort to corruption to win elections.