LEGACY

Uhuru running out of time

Slay corruption and everything else will fall into place

In Summary
  • Reasonable citizens would understand if by 2022 the Big Four—food security, housing, manufacturing and universal healthcare—flops.
  • But there would be no excuse if the corruption war flounders

President Uhuru Kenyatta is about to hit the second half of his final term. The years 2020 and 2021 are critical to his legacy. Worse for him, the country is heavily indebted. Creditors, like China, are demanding loan repayment. Some industries are closing down or relocating to better investment climes.

Unemployment is soaring; labour is restless. Strike notices have been issued. The situation could get worse. But victims of corruption are cheering as looters regroup for the 2022 General Election. The tormentors are building new coalitions of plunder, as their victims feed from the crusts under their tables.

The bestiality of corruption was captured at Osodo Secondary School in Homa Bay county, where floods victims camped in December. Another lot of the dehumanised were waiting for manna from the county at Bala in Kibiri ward, Karachuonyo. Three days before schools opened, county officials brought relief supplies. This was not the first nor would it be the last time taxpayers are fed on handouts.

Six kilos of rice, two tins of beans, two pairs of kalara blankets, and one roll of sanitary towels were all they got. They were excited. Ascendant corruption has created a Hitler complex among Kenyans.

History records Adolf Hitler, the leader of Nazi Germany, once brought a chicken to a party meeting. He plucked its feathers in a painful ritual until the chicken was nude. He then threw the chicken on the ground and baited it with feed from his pockets, throwing the feed in bits that ensured the chicken yearned for more. As he walked away, the chicken followed him, sat at his feet, to feed from his hands. The naked chicken fed like its life depended on the droppings from Hitler’s generous hands.

Reasonable citizens would understand if by 2022 the Big Four—food security, housing, manufacturing and universal healthcare—flops. But there would be no excuse if the corruption war flounders

Hitler then turned to members of the Nazi party: “This chicken represents the people. You must disempower them, brutalise them, beat them up, and leave them. If you do this and then give them peanuts when they are in that desperate situation, they will follow you for the rest of their lives. They will think you are a hero forever. They will forget that, it is you who brought them to that situation in the first place.”

Reasonable citizens would understand if by 2022 the Big Four—food security, housing, manufacturing and universal healthcare—flops. But there would be no excuse if the war on corruption flounders. The saboteurs of the Big Four answer to a system of impunity. From the counties to the National Treasury, they have the opportunity, motive and means to undermine the national development agenda.

Twenty-four months before the campaign year 2022 and 34 months to regime change elections, the dominant reality is plunder, prosecutorial and judicial laxity, denial and succession idiocy. The system is working at cross-purposes. The President, Director of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti, and Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission CEO Twalib Mbarak must run State thieves out of town, to reclaim integrity in public office.

Kinoti and Mbarak are showing some results, but they have to move faster on reported cases. Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji has many pending cases. But he should delete the automated response to whistleblowers that his predecessor Keriako Tobiko left behind.

Whistleblowers are tired of raising the alarm without investigative and prosecutorial response from public anti-corruption agencies. Tonnes of evidence of corruption in the counties have been reported to the EACC and DPP, but the response is reluctance or zero. This is calculated to discourage whistleblowers.

On the first Sunday of this year Mohamed Okash Mohamed, in a paid-for advertiser’s announcement in a newspaper, sent a second memorandum to the President. The memo highlighted cases of corruption in Mandera county. The first memo of June 10, 2018, which was widely circulated, indicated systemic and wanton abuse of county resources through fake or stalled projects, petty pilferage, raw multimillion-shilling plunder and multiple procurement irregularities.

 

The Auditor General has flagged these cases, but nothing has been done to enforce accountability. The President unveiled the Big Four agenda with optimism in 2017. Mr President, forget the Big Four, the greatest threat the economy and your legacy is the Big One: Slay corruption and everything else will fall in place.