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November 17, 2018

When corruption runs amok

Money./FILE
Money./FILE

Sobriety is a rare virtue in a polity where corruption is lionised as a sure way of acquiring easy wealth.

This is a county where a hairdresser ferries sack loads of illicit cash in pickup trucks when her clients do not even have enough in their purses.

A country where political correctness gets you a soft loan of Sh60 million only which is refundable in 12 months at negotiated interest.

A country where a politically correct tenderpreneur applies for a Sh100 million unsecured loan today, gets the approval the next day and then withdraws the loot, in cash, the following day.

Bad debts have a basis in political correctness and kindred corruption. Miracles still happen if you worship the right gods in the political shrines. You can make millions of shillings for supplying zero condoms.

From the Nairobi, Mandera, Migori, Busia, Nyamira to Machakos counties, a ferocious bug of money mania is biting its ‘enterprising’ victims.

The victims then spread the largesse, as handouts, to manipulable masses.

There is a new wave of corruption-inspired consciousness: It is that in a ‘tumbocractic’ society, money can easily be made in politics. 

Indeed, the people minting millions of shillings, without any evidence of legit work, are politicians or public servants. ere are also brokers who enjoy the benefit of political correctness.

The frenzy about political ambitions ahead of the general election, is not about leadership, or the right to vote and/or to be voted for. It is not about exercising one’s democratic rights.

There is something else behind this infectious seizure of ambition.

The unscrupulous leaders are the role models of the digital era. It was not meant to be this way.

Elective office is about public service in well-organised societies. But during the digital age, representation secures a vantage point for brokerage and plunder.

It is an opportunity to expand the distance between the politically correct tenderpreneurs and all other hustlers.

It’s about expanding the distance between poverty and affluence, between those who have gotten there and all other hustlers.

During a visit to Germany in 1990 aboard Lufthansa, the premier German airline, I shared a cabin with a colleague who spent half the eight-hour flight bragging. The distance between him and want, he predicted, would be as huge as the distance between the flight up the Egyptian airspace and the ground.

Years after the German fl ight, this friend is nursing an old Mercedes Benz and a wreck of a BMW in front of a rented tenement in Umoja One, Nairobi.

He is hurting, but the old Merc reminds him he had ‘arrived’ earlier.

He is selling the junks to raise some cash to fi nance his campaign to be area MCA.

He has seen the ward reps, who were broke four years ago, turn into millionaires within a short period.

He wants  to try his hand in county politics because that’s where the loot is.

Twenty aspirants are running for Kigumo MP. Thincumbent, Jamleck Kamau, is standing for Murang’a governor against Mwangi Wairia. e rivals have had pitched battles, with intrigues to sabotage each other’s bid.

County garbage tucks dumped 110 tonnes of manure on the venue Kamau launched his bid at a day earlier.

Two aspirants for the Homa Bay Town parliamentary seat, which hosts the county headquaters, fought in what seemed like an entertainment break.

This was a rally to mark the second anniversary of the late Senator Otieno Kajwang’.

One of the entertainers, who was adjudged the underdog, Peter Kaluma, is defending his seat the best way he knows, against his rival Washington Oganga.

But were they fighting for leadership, or was there something behind the impromptu wrestling match on the VIP podium?

Last week also witnessed widespread violence during the Jubilee Party elections.

The fights were not about party leadership and management of the 2017 elections.

There is something else behind these outbreaks of panic, nervousness, and suspicion. 

Like weaver birds building nests in readiness for the coming harvest, the aspirants are taking positions to continue the current plunder of public funds.

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