THE BIG HEADACHE

Graft war requires extraordinary measures

Due legal process will never resolve mega corruption scandals.

In Summary

• Facilitate dismissal of suspects from office on the ground of loss of confidence rather than conviction.

• Empower financial sector to even change currency and involve development partners in assets recovery.

A civil society member reacts during a protest, dubbed KnockOutCorruption, against what organisers say is corruption in government, in Nairobi December 1, 2015. REUTERS
A civil society member reacts during a protest, dubbed KnockOutCorruption, against what organisers say is corruption in government, in Nairobi December 1, 2015. REUTERS

Corruption is the most popular topic reported in Kenya. It is considered endemic, with deep roots in public and private sectors and among all communities. It is likened to stage four of cancer, where death is imminent unless there is a miracle.

Uncontrolled corruption and unmanageable public debt are signs of an irresponsible government. These have brought down governments and Kenya will be no exception. The current generation of leaders must take the state of the economy seriously and provide solutions to corruption and unmanageable public debt.

Spiritual and secular leaders have power from God and mandate from the people  to be solution providers, not whistleblowers. They must be strong and courageous to protect Kenyans, and not be captured or intimidated to submission by coruption kingpins.

Interior PS Karanja Kibicho confirmed that corruption has grown 240 per cent over the last five years. Taming corruption would be a win and a game changer for the President’s legacy. But it can be a very lonely walk. It requires God’s grace for the President to be courageous and strong to win corruption war.

The President has the support of citizens. The legislature and Judiciary must also support him by passing, interpreting and applying laws that would make corruption expensive and with low net value to the perpetrators.

The truth is, past and emerging corruption scandals cannot be resolved by the current generation of spiritual and secular leaders; unless the government reviews relevant laws and ensures the moral foundation of families and the nation is rebuilt.

The government has the resources and machineries to identify suspects in mega corruption scandals. Kenyans seem to know the corruption kingpins through their conspicuous expenditure and foolish display of wealth, mainly in real estate.

Serious lifestyle audits of top billionaires could be a lifesaver to government. The perpetrators of corruption have an “uta do [what will you do]” attitude and are bold in defending themselves and shielding their colleagues in crime.

The Interior ministry must stand with Kenyans. Interrogating, arresting and intimidating spiritual and civic leaders will only accelerate popular protest and revolution. Popular protests and revolutions have high socioeconomic costs, more to the poor and the government, and should be avoided.

The President has a responsibility to establish and preside over a responsible government and not a bandit one. A responsible government would protect, provide and invest in the citizens, and give them hope for a better tomorrow.

Kenyans want their government to explore the possibility of taking extraordinary measures to identify, arrest, convict and jail corruption suspects, and recover stolen property.

The truth is, past and emerging corruption scandals cannot be resolved by the current generation of spiritual and secular leaders; unless the government reviews relevant laws and ensures the moral foundation of families and the nation is rebuilt.

Corruption scandals are complex, perfectly executed to cover looters' tracks. The loot is sanitised in real estate investments or kept outside financial systems. Due legal process will never resolve corruption scandals.

The government must take extraordinary measures—review laws to be aligned to the spirit of the Constitution; facilitate dismissal of suspects from office on the ground of loss of confidence rather than conviction; consolidate powers of relevant institutions to enhance accountability and delivery of justice; and empower financial sector to even change currency and involve development partners in assets recovery.

In Barbados, corruption is treated like murder and bond is denies except for cases that drag on for more than two years. Commercial banks routinely close accounts where large amounts are frequently deposited or withdrawn in cash, without court orders. Public servants suspected of corruption are dismissed by the appointing authority on grounds of loss of confidence.

In Saudi Arabia corruption suspects were put under “hotel arrest”. While in India currency was changed to mop-up corruption money kept outside the local banking system.