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January 16, 2019

If Jubilee Pays Anglo Leasing, It Cannot Fight Corruption

That Jubilee government tried to recruit Parliament into paying Anglo-Leasing Sh1.5 billion for services and goods that were never delivered is incontrovertible proof that President Uhuru and Deputy President Ruto have no will, capacity or intent to fight corruption.

While congratulating MPs for refusing to sanction Anglo Leasing payments, people must stop asking Uhuru and Ruto to fight graft because they are not anti-corruption crusaders. As long as they are in power, Kenya will be a safe haven for graft.

Whatever the consequences, Kenya must not pay monies to Kenren and Anglo Leasing, and need to recover money it lost through Goldenberg scam. Countries that have ended corruption have never agreed to pay debts owed to corrupt companies or individuals.

 History also teaches us that unless they are revolutionary, governments do not fight corruption – they thrive by it. In Kenya, those who love corruption are happy that the Jubilee government is not revolutionary and will accommodate graft.

Those who hate corruption are unhappy that Jubilee leaders are in power to eat and will not fight corruption. In Kenya, only private individuals – of limited resources – may fight corruption, not government.

As Kenyans wonder whether the Jubilee government will fight corruption or not, Kenya’s worst form of corruption manifests itself in ghost workers and companies like Kenren, Anglo-Leasing and Goldenberg through which Kenya governments continue to lose hundreds of billions of shillings.

However, paying salaries and financial commitments to ghost workers and companies are perplexing, not because money is lost to entities that don’t exist but because leaders who authorise these payments could be paying these monies to themselves disguised as ghost workers and companies getting fat on taxpayers’ money.

There is little doubt that paying ghost workers and companies money for delivery of nothing is the worst form of tomfoolery against people.

Whether Jubilee government was part of the original corruption that conceived Kenren, Anglo-Leasing, Goldenberg and other scandals of corruption that litter the path of our history or not, paying monies to ghost companies is committing additional corruption more serious than the original which it is now perpetrated to facilitate, aid and abet.

Because paying salaries and money to ghost workers and companies is only logical to its beneficiaries, one cannot help but ask why any government would want to help execute this kind of graft. Three reasons come to mind.

First, the government is beholden to perpetrators of this corruption and will do nothing to expose or hurt them.

Second, the government is part of a culture of corruption that it wants to keep as a key pillar of its economic system – capitalism. Third, some government leaders might have been paid by the beneficiaries of ghost corruption to assist them.

From whichever way one looks at it, Jubilee government has no will to fight corruption. Were Kenyan leaders victims of corruption, they might have the will to fight it. As it is, most Kenyan leaders are beneficiaries of corruption which they view, not as an enemy to fight, but as an ally to protect.

Once leadership or government has no grudge against corruption, it will lack the moral, political and ideological capacity to fight it.

When most leaders come from a background of benefitting from corruption, they will lack the capacity to fight it. And instead of fighting it, most leaders will rationalise graft as a necessary evil.

Two lies are told about Kenyan corruption. That if you are rich, you may not need to be corrupt again. This is analogous to an ocean not needing water because it is already full of water.

Equally falsely, we are told beneficiaries of old corruption can fight graft, even without giving up inheritances acquired through corruption.

Leaders who were not vetted to ensure they were clean before election cannot be relied upon to fight graft. Rather, they will use their positions in government to perpetrate more graft.

Let us not fool ourselves. The Jubilee government is not interested in fighting corruption. Were it interested in fighting corruption, there is evidence galore everywhere of both old and new corruption. But the government is doing nothing to fight either or both.

Instead of fighting corruption, the government has adopted a tactic of talking more about development and less about corruption as if ignoring graft can promote economic progress.

Unfortunately, where there is rampant corruption, there can be no sustained economic growth. Development is stillborn if it is perpetually robbed.

When I assert that Jubilee government is incapable of fighting corruption and developing the country, I don’t suggest that our salvation lies in the Cord coalition.

Unfortunately the difference between Cord opposition and Jubilee government is that one is in power and the other is out of power. Were Cord in power, it would suckle the same dragon of graft.

Corruption of buying leadership during elections is one way of guaranteeing that current leadership of Kenya will not fight economic corruption without which there will be no money to buy power.

To rout out corruption, we must be very frank with ourselves and government. We must stop entertaining illusions about Jubilee government eradicating corruption. It may use anti-corruption clichés for popularity but will not eradicate graft.

To end the scourge of corruption, we must seek fundamental and irreversible changes in leadership and governance. We shall not eradicate corruption with a leadership like Jubilee government, period.

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