Corruption Reigns When People Entrust Thieves To Fight Graft

Integrity Center.
Integrity Center.

It beats reason and logic that everyday we write and read about corruption in Kenya, but the monster continues to grow and spread its tentacles everywhere.

But maybe we fail to eradicate corruption because we fight it as mad people do – use corrupt people to fight graft and expect its eradication.

Simply defined, corruption is nothing but theft of money, moral values, innocence and integrity and getting away with it. So fighting corruption is recovering what people have lost to thieves and thievery – commonly called corruption.

To recover what people have lost to thievery, corruption cannot be fought and eradicated by thieves. As the Kikuyu proverb says: “if you look for your lost animal with the thief who stole it, you cannot find it.” It is because Kenyans have been entrusting thieves to fight thievery that we have completely failed to eradicate corruption that increases and gets stronger by the day despite all the noise leaders make to condemn it, precisely because it is unmeant.

We daydream when we expect corrupt leadership to eradicate corruption. Indeed to eradicate corruption, leaders must be clean and champion the war against corruption because they have resources which other people do not have.

But corruption thrives in Kenya because rather than have clean leaders, they are dirty and corrupt, and instead of fighting corruption, leaders embrace it as a means of making themselves rich and powerful. Leaders we see becoming billionaires and trillionaires in private and public sectors in the twinkling of an eye are corrupt. Yet we rely on them to eradicate corruption.

When we fight corruption, we must never forget that it has its beneficiaries who are its disciples, and its victims who hate it. When we see top leaders nominate beneficiaries of corrupt into institutions of fighting corruption, the aim is to conceal and perpetuate corruption. And when we see no victims of corruption nominated into institutions of fighting corruption, it is because they will fight corruption. Top leaders never nominate victims of corruption into institutions with mandate to fight corruption, because their real intention is to subvert fight against corruption, and use anti-corruption institutions to conceal and protect corruption and the corrupt.

From the regimes of Jomo Kenyatta to those of Moi, Kibaki and now Uhuru, Kenyan African governments have never intended to fight corruption. This is why at independence when poverty, ignorance and disease were identified as the nation’s key problems, more pressing problems of bad leadership, bad system, intellectual poverty, corruption, negative ethnicity, subversion of nationalism and lack of a national vision were never included in the list of key national problems, yet elimination of the former depended on the elimination of the latter.

Indeed, Kenyatta laid the foundation of future corruption when he accepted implementation of the report of Ndegwa Commission. It allowed civil servants and leaders to do business while mildly warning them that government would not protect them if they got caught in corruption – “my bird hide, if you get caught, you are not mine.” Ultimately Kenyatta and other governments mostly protected Kenyatta’s birds when they got dipping their long fingers into the public kitty or earning business tenders corruptly.

Often, the excuse of lack of evidence is usually cited as reason for non prosecution of civil servant thieves. But Kenyan jails would not have space enough to hold corrupt leaders and civil servants if the evidence carried in the reports of Public Accounts of Committee of Parliament and reports of the Controller and Auditor General could be used to prosecute corruption. Non prosecution of the corrupt in government and private sector is not for lack of evidence against corruption, but lack of political will to prosecute the corrupt.

After coming to power, President Uhuru opened a Presidential website where people could report corruption. It tells a lot about Presidential lack of political will to prosecute corruption that probably most anti-corruption information sent to this website has not led to the prosecution of the corrupt.

The so-called war against corruption in Kenya seems to be a war to emasculate and subvert institutions that are mandated by constitution to fight graft. Without defending PAC and EACC against allegations of corruption, one wonders how corruption could be fought if anti-corruption institutions are disbanded and others appointed to take their place for reasons other than history, commitment and passion to fight corruption.

In Kenya, corruption is not on the retreat. It is getting bolder. Equally, the corrupt are not being prosecuted. They are winning elections and capturing control of Parliament, government and judiciary.

In Kenya, corruption should not be underrated and ignored. It is a foe to fear because it is getting stronger and craftier by the day. From institutions of government, Parliament and judiciary, corruption is capturing control of Kenyan economy but also power of the government and breaking moral fibre of the nation by controlling social institutions schools and churches. Above all, through public admiration and support for graft, corruption has taken over the political leadership of the land.

We must never forget that when we lose our moral values to greed, we lose the war against corruption. Indeed, the fight against corruption is a fight for moral values.

To eradicate corruption, we must reject the logic of negative ethnicity that when leaders are corrupt, it is the turn of their communities to eat.

If thieves enhance corruption, only progressive leadership will eradicate corruption in Kenya. Anything else is an illusion.