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January 20, 2019

Kenya's commissions way of 'toughing' it out

Kenya's commissions way of 'toughing' it out
Kenya's commissions way of 'toughing' it out

There is an image that has been circulating via WhatsApp that goes: “My love for you is like corruption in Kenya, it will never end J.” Because the message is passing a certain message about our society, it leaves some reacting either with amusement, slight irritation, or in extreme cases extreme anger. This is because corruption is one of the biggest problems ailing Kenyan society from the top to the grassroots.

The administration recognising the danger of corruption recently took a drastic action that has been known to work against corruption. While some would have expected the action to be arrests of people known for corruption in his government, the president appointed a commission. The work of this commission would be investigating corruption at a holistic level and give recommendations to the country’s leader. Some commentators said this was just a delaying tactic to protect the corrupt – but how do these commissions work? Here’s a look at how this will probably pan out with the Kenya’s newest commission.

The commission has been constituted already, so there is little likelihood of an outcry from people who were hoping to 'help' with their expertise and were thus overlooked because of their community ties. Those who have been selected will likely call a press conference very soon announcing they will leave no stone unturned to ensure both big, small and medium-sized fish will be netted in a report they produce. Even if it means going to the ends of the earth to benchmark on the best ways to do this assignment, they will go the extra leg to do their national duty. The commission report expected will be christened after the name of the chairman of the commission who will be fiery and determined in speech.

With the announcement made you can expect it to be followed keenly by those who have interest in the corruption industry. If the media seeing this as both as a juicy story to follow on to end, and one of national interest, it will start doing profiles of the members of the commission with a focus on the chairman. If they are not known intimately to Kenyans he –chairmen tend to be men – will build a national profile with appearances on talk shows on every station always in snazzy suits. He will be quoted in many newspaper articles and column giving the position of his commission. If he is any good – he was selected to be chairman so he must be – you can expect him to start being seen internationally representing Kenya at conferences on governance and corruption.

He won’t be the only one travelling as his team will go around the country getting opinions from Kenyans for opinions and solutions. These opinions will be gotten in social halls with the state-of-the-art equipment hired on the taxpayers’ bill. Many of the opinions will be filmed, and depending on the subject even broadcasted live on TV. Apart from local travelling, you can expect members of the commission to travel to locations that had fought corruption successfully like Singapore, Georgia, Brazil and of course the UK and the USA. As you can expect, there will be reports of massive movies given to the commissioners as travel allowances and per diem. We will know how much they are spending and who is going and whether with their girlfriends/boyfriends because there will be regular leaks in the media about their shenanigans.

When they are done with their fact finding you can expect to hear of a series of retreats in exclusive parts of the country –reports cannot be written in offices in Nairobi after all – where they will compile their report. At these retreats expect reports of conflict in the team and claims of report doctoring.

Three years on and the report done with controversy abound, the commission starts the new arduous task of finding the president who suddenly has a very schedule. Eventually, they will have to be fitted in between the visit of Katungulu Secondary School students and a meeting with the pharmacy board. Finally our chairman and his team will get his moment of glory handing out the report which incidentally is a bulky 10,000 pages long. With the handover of the report, corruption will be considered to have ended. Until the next commission is constituted.


Spice Route, Victoria Island, Lagos

As I write this, our reviewer is currently on assignment in Lagos, Nigeria. As you would expect I couldn’t be at this city famous for many things including its huge population size without sampling some of the night life. On the Saturday night, my two friends writer Kenechi Uzor and entertainment journalist Horace took me out to sample a little of the night life. We got to sample a place in Victoria Island, one of the islands that constitute the coastal city, called Spice Route.

All the way from the parking lot to the building entrance there was a very visible presence of burly men in black suits which gave the interpretation that we were in a very safe space. We were eventually ushered into the building which had around four floors and we made our way to the first floor where the venue is located. I noted this was not one for the man or woman in a wheelchair who would be aspiring to be a punter and enjoy the nightlife like the rest of us on our two feet.

We went into this place which quickly hit me for the noise which made sense as it was the wee hours of the night and people were probably quite toasted by the time. We eventually got a seat at one of the like areas that had been sequestered for punters and I ordered for a quick beer. The famous beer in Nigeria is called Star beer, but I had gotten a liking to the Gulder brand what with its fuller taste. The beer would cost me 1,000 Naira which came to around Sh500 – this is a bit pricey.

With my beer, I opted to have quick stroll around to check out this place fully. There was a little dance floor at the centre of the club which was filled with punters who were dancing to the current Nigerian music hits. The unique thing was that these was a noticeably multiracial club with folks from all races represented from African, to middle eastern, to European to Asian. Also noticeable was there was a lot of many Nigerian girls dressed to kill in short black dresses and shoes from heaven.


A quick recap of the venue:

Good: Decent service, world class décor, dancefloor those who wish to have a dance,

Bad: Disability unfriendly, pricey

My verdict: This is a great place for someone to go out and have a drink and a bit of dancing in the commercial capital of Nigeria. 

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