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November 14, 2018

Graft war vital for Big4 success

A security guard at the integrity center where National Housing corporation staff were grilled over the illegal allocation of public housing units to senior government officials.Photo/HEZRON NJOROGE
A security guard at the integrity center where National Housing corporation staff were grilled over the illegal allocation of public housing units to senior government officials.Photo/HEZRON NJOROGE

In public office, corruption is certainly the least victimless crime, as every citizen who pays taxes and contributes to the country is robbed whenever the public purse is robbed.

That is why the fight against corruption that President Uhuru Kenyatta has made the foundation of his Big Four agenda is important. This is not a mere election gambit as he is not seeking reelection.

Uhuru is tackling corruption to ensure he can move forward with his agenda, which includes universal healthcare, manufacturing, affordable housing and food security.

He is taking head-on one of the most serious barriers to his transformative agenda

First, the President has not shied away from the issue which, while many would like to take it on, can be fraught with difficulties such as implementation, politics and can even embarrass allies.

Uhuru has, however, decided to wade into the fight with both feet because he knows what happens when graft is ignored.

Second, the President has made it clear that anyone involved in graft will be severely dealt with. Corruption is both criminal and evil.

Third, he made changes in key institutions such as the Office of Director of Public Prosecutions, the Directorate of Criminal Investigations and the Office of the Attorney General, which are the nerve centre of the corruption war.

He wants to put in place people he knows he can trust to deliver. This is a holistic attempt to put an end to corruption that some have estimated to cost Kenyans as much as $100 million in recent years.

Uhuru has definitely started the corruption drive on the right foot, with more than 50 senior officials and executives having already been arrested and charged. Some of those being investigated worked for the National Youth Service, a paramilitary institution at the forefront of a plan to combat youth unemployment.

Other key institutions mired in corruption scandals are the electricity distributor Kenya Power, Kenya Pipeline Company and the National Cereals and Produce Board. The list goes on, but if Uhuru has his way, it will stop.

Some estimate that a third of our annual budget is wasted in corruption. There is a lot that can be done with such vast amounts such as healthcare, housing and food security. The thieves are literally draining Kenya and Uhuru must act as the plug that will end the seepage.

Instead of raising taxes or borrowing to implement his Big Four agenda, Uhuru should stop the waste and ensure the country makes do with what it collects.

Instead of going back to the pockets of the citizens, who have already been pick-pocketed for too long by the corrupt, Uhuru is taking our money back from them and putting it back to where it belongs.

It is important that all people of goodwill support the President in doing the right thing — making Kenya corruption-free and enriching all citizens.

Former Mukurweini MP

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