President Uhuru and DP Ruto have announced they will proceed with the multibillion railway project from Mombasa to Malaba and those who don’t like it can go and hang.
Kenyans have however raised a red flag over the railway project citing irregularities that include; different figures for the cost of the project from different ministries, overpricing of the project compared to the same job done for Ethiopia and most shocking, giving contract to a company that is blacklisted by World Bank over improprieties in the Philippines. Don’t we fear hunting with ogres or are we ogres too?
While denying any possibility of corruption in the railway contract, President Uhuru and DP Ruto have claimed that those who are complaining against the project are holding brief for corrupt cartels in the government who were inherited from the Kibaki regime but no one is sacking them!
If some leaders agree there are cartels in government seeking contracts for themselves, local and Chinese contractors, nothing should proceed before the air is cleared.
But although Uhuru and Ruto deny any corruption in these deals, people have a right to be apprehensive when different leaders in the same government claim graft about the same contracts.
When accusations of corruption are made, poor Kenyans must feel uncomfortable when they remember grabbing of land by Kenyatta government, Ken Ren and Goldenberg of Moi era, Anglo-leasing, Triton, loss of free education and Aids money under Kibaki and now Railway, Lapsset, Laptop and Tassia Estate of NSSF under Uhuru and Ruto. Is not, once bitten twice shy?
But if overpricing of projects is not denied by Uhuru and Ruto and if the railway project goes on, it is Kenyan taxpayers who will shoulder the bill for many years. This is why Kenyans get poorer while the corrupt get richer.
When corruption was exposed during Kenyatta and Moi eras, the exposures were ignored and their authors killed or detained without charge or trial.
When corruption was exposed under Kibaki, it was taken as legitimate and those raising the alarms were dismissed as doomsayers, liars or the never-do-wells and Kenyans continue to pay for it.
Likewise, Uhuru and Ruto have said in very forceful language that suspect projects will go on whatever anybody says. And fortunately for them, ethnic leaders have their Chinese terra-cotta warriors who will go to the grave with them, not for their innocence but shared ethnicity.
The Kikuyu even say however earned, cattle in Kikuyu land are better than those in Maasai land while pastoral communities say, all cattle belong to them. How then can leadership extirpate corruption when communities justify and defend it?
Kenyan leaders will not give up corruption if they benefit from it and know Kenyans support it even when they are its victims. Leaders believe political life is a gamble and the bigger the gamble, the greater the gain.
To political high-stake players, a gamble of Sh400 billion is irresistible however baffling and risky. Indeed, mega corruption is the goose that lays the golden eggs and only a foolish leader will commit suicide by killing it.
President Uhuru has asked people who are dissatisfied with the railway project to go to him or parliamentary committees for remedy.
But how can leaders arbitrate against corruption when MPs, senators, MCAs, President and his deputy avoided vetting by shoving aside chapter six of the constitution?
What corruption is President Uhuru fighting with his website when he is not fighting alleged graft in the major projects of Jubilee government?
When I was in Parliament and government, I learnt Kenya is a society whose 95 per cent lies in the dark, underground of corruption and only five per cent of it is above the surface, transparent, honest and untainted by graft.
From their refusal to implement annual reports of the Comptroller and Auditor General, reports of Parliamentary Accounts Committee and Parliamentary Investments Committee, Kenyan governments from colonialism to Uhuru's have never fought and will not fight corruption.
In Kenya, a crusader against corruption is an enemy of government that is always a friend of graft. When I was elected chairman of PAC in April 1981, President Moi threatened to dissolve the committee if I did not resign.
Corrupt civil servants protested that as chair of PAC, I would use the committee to witch-hunt them. When I refused to resign, they forced compliant members to vote me out in order to “save” the committee.
Have we learnt nothing since 1981, if Uhuru and Ruto government can claim the railway deal is clean and beneficial to Kenya, claim it wants to fight corruption but give a multi-billion contract to a Chinese company that is blacklisted by the World Bank.
Has Kenya not been impoverished by fake contracts with conmen-contractors because we failed to undertake due diligence on them?
Is the appetite and greed of individuals to earn billions enough to mortgage the survival of the nation and entire future of our children and their children?
How can Ruto and Uhuru claim Jubilee government is for development, but allow foreign contractors to overprice projects by hundreds of billions? With what shall we finance our future development if we allow corruption to bankrupt us today?
To end corruption, Kenyans must stop defending graft by their ethnic elites, unite and use all the forums available to expose, rebuke, attack and kill corruption.