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September 19, 2018

Sugar report: Lords of graft won key battle in Parliament

some of the impounded expired sugar sugar with a packaging machine at the DCI./EZEKIEL AMING'A
some of the impounded expired sugar sugar with a packaging machine at the DCI./EZEKIEL AMING'A
When the report on imported sugar unfit for human consumption was rejected by in the National Assembly, corruption won a major battle at the expense of the anti-corruption purge. This is not just in terms of billions corruptly pocketed by sugar cartels, poisoned sugar that will kill consumers, but corruption that seems to have subjugated Parliament to its beck and call.

Seeming to have total control over Parliament, it is unavoidable that if President Uhuru Kenyatta will continue to wage the war on corruption, the three arms of government will become major theatres of that war, depending on whether it will be graft or anti-corruption war that will conquer and use them.

Graft has an advantage over anti-corruption war. For starters, this dragon has been entrenching its roots in government and private sector for over 50 years since Independence. From whence Ndegwa Commission legitimised corruption in the civil service, the corrupt have accumulated trillions they are ready to use to defeat the anti-corruption war back. Chapter Six of the Constitution on ethics was shelved to allow the corrupt to dominate in Parliament and the Executive. Finally, corruption enjoys the support of negative ethnicity, which puts graft several steps ahead of the anti-corruption purge in the fight for control of the soul of the nation.

Already, corruption controls Parliament with bribes as low as Sh10, 000, which are not punished as crime.

The Executive, and now Parliament, control resources of the country by weakening parliamentary committees such as the Public Accounts Committee, which could otherwise reign in on the corruption that is annually exposed by the Controller of Budget and the Auditor General in their reports. Unfortunately, they perpetually sabotaged at either the committees level or on the floor of the House. 

In the fight against imported sugar, the python of corruption first emasculated the government through its ministers, who are accused of pouring tonnes of money to fortify corruption in P­arliament, before swallowing the House and the Executive. Now, neither of the two can tell Kenyans whether the imported sugar is safe for consumption or it is laced with mercury, thus unsafe for consumption. 

Because corruption is as dangerously sweet as poisoned sugar, this is the recent graft case that will sink the nation into the bottom of the ocean of corruption. Imagine what would happen if sugar unfit for human consumption is released to the market and millions ended up contracting deadly diseases from its use?

In the war against corruption two things must be clear in regards to Parliament and the government.

With the levels of moral decadence in Legislature, the National Assembly cannot be relied on to wage the war on corruption. Instead, this crackdown must arrest and prosecute all those who have taken bribery in Parliament.

 Though I joined Parliament believing it can be a tool of liberating the country, having refused to protect the country against poisonous sugar, the current House lacks patriotism to protect the country against diseases, deaths and the ruin of sugar farming.

And the war over the sugar report had some winners – CS Aden Mohammed, CS Henry Rotich and Ambassador Willy Bett and William Ruto’s arm of Jubilee government, whose more than 150 MPs voted strongly to protect the URP ministers. Clearly, Ruto’s MPs are well organised in Parliament,where they regard anti-corruption war as a foe against William Ruto.

 Uhuru’s arm of the Executive and Parliament lost the battle. To sustain the crackdown on graft, Uhuru must urgently launch the lifestyle audit which seems to have stalled, protect the country against imported poisonous sugar by incinerating it and demand equal justice for all perpetrators of graft when prosecuted.

 

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