- Corruption is rife and Kenya’s position on the global corruption index has not changed because of laxity to stem it.
- The nationalisation of this vice has outpaced that of virtue with an urgent need to normalize the situation.
It is not the absence of effective laws that is responsible for pervasive corruption in this country.
There is the Judiciary to punish the culprits.
It is the tardy and lukewarm response of bureaucrats handling grievances that is responsible for graft persisting in every sphere of our country.
Our dishonest political elite and its comrades in the bureaucracy act in concert and ensure that no probe against their shady activities ever ends in the exposure of their true colours.
Transparency, a word uttered by our mentors, is mere rhetoric that is never meant to be practised.
Though previous presidents declared openly their determination to fight graft, they failed to provide practical support to institutions and people entrusted with the anti-corruption crusade.
Corruption is rife and Kenya’s position on the global corruption index has not changed because of laxity to stem it.
The nationalisation of this vice has outpaced that of virtue with an urgent need to normalise the situation.
This is possible only through civic education and those engaged in politics show appreciable erudition.
There are grandiose designs on paper to fight graft, which every regime functionary openly refers to, but don’t abide by.
Corruption thrives mainly due to a lack of accountability.
For instance, to ensure accountability, there should be a time frame for the issue of licenses, passports and permits.
It should be indicated in the application forms, besides being prominently displayed on office notice boards.
Awareness of rights and entitlements is a prerequisite for people to prefer complaints against erring officials.
The graft malady has eaten into the country’s vitals.
Indeed, the citizenry has a significant role to play in tackling graft.
Sadly, society perpetrates corruption by assuming the role of the giver, who is to blame as much as the receiver of the bribe.
Corruption is an assault on human rights and a threat to democracy and the media should expose it boldly.
There should be teaching in schools and places of worship reinforcing that bribe-giving and taking are both condemnable.
By its very nature, corruption doesn’t mean only bribe-taking, as the majority wrongly conclude.
Any act that goes contrary to social norms qualifies as corruption.
The Christian Gospel gives us a good example in the form of “adultery,” where Jesus remarked that adultery is committed even if the individual merely looks at the other’s erogenous zone and has mental pictures that arouse sexual pleasure.
It is something psychological, conceived in the mind’s eye as an imaginary sense of consummation.
Like cancer, corruption is an inert, onerous and painful experience; entrenched very deep that is no longer considered sinful- practised by politicians, clergies to pupils as though it is one’s birthright.
The employees do it because they have the backing of “big men” and politicians indulge in corruption by spending government money lavishly on populist measures.
In Europe for instance, the law doesn’t only bark; it bites painfully. It doesn’t matter your status. That’s why U.S. citizens obey the law.
In our case, it is the reverse because the very people entrusted with enforcing the law are the first to flout it with impunity.
Nobody seems prepared to instill “the fear of the law” in citizens.
However, graft war can still be managed through committed patriotic citizens in anticipation of support from the general public.
The question is: who will bell the cat? Or else, we have to bear the brunt of corruption bravely.
Human and infallible, though we are, there is hope that if we prepare to do the right thing to stem corruption and purge ourselves of greed and filth.
President Ruto and his government cannot escape blame if it does nothing concrete to stem emerging graft.
The fact is that if he presents himself as incorruptible, he will not make any difference.
It is the institutions of the state that must be strengthened to make corruption unattractive, not one or two individuals projecting themselves as such.
If our institutions are strengthened to stem corruption, the citizens won’t be tempted to indulge in it.
The time is ripe for us (Africa) to break away from the mentality of “strongmen” to that of “strong institutions” of state! That is how countries brave the storm and move forward. Kenya must move forward too.
Denis Onyango is a legal practitioner and writes on governance.