FIGHTING BACK

The elders have spoken

In Summary
  • Victims of corruption need a new consciousness – outside the law
  • Voters shouldn’t elect leaders on account of their war chest and handouts. Our taxes feed their war chests
Let us invite the aspirants to as many harambees as there are. Let them bring money. We shall take. We shall eat like we do from outside caterers. We then return to our houses to do the right thing.

President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto ran for the presidency when they were facing criminal charges at The Hague. This precedent – the original sin – is binding to accountability cynics. 

The beneficiaries of this folly, or those who hope to gain from it, can buy the gullible. They can buy investigative agencies; they can compromise prosecutors. They can delay and derail prosecution. They can kill witnesses, burn offices and shred files without fear of consequences. 

Fires in county offices are orchestrated to kill evidence of wrongdoing. Voters pay the price.

Water crisis in Homa Bay county is worse now than a decade ago. Children can be seen 'fishing' water from heavily silted water pans in North ward of Karachuonyo constituency. The area is reported to have benefitted from a Sh110 million New West Karachuonyo Water Supply.

ThePresident's Delivery Unit lists the multimillion-shilling project as 100 per cent complete. The project is supposed to be serving 180,000 people, including the children who hunt for water between clay cracks in the dried up Kakech water pan, and many others in midwest Karachuonyo.

Impunity undermines the fight against corruption. Chapter Six of the Constitution on integrity does not count for impudents. The gullible call them generous. The generous steal maize from our farms at night, then sell to us at half price.

There was once a popular butchery at Soko Rambira, a small town around Lake Victoria. The butchery always had fresh beef. The butcher gave the impression he was always the first to collect stock from the public slaughterhouse.

His butchery was always the first to open for business. Often, it was the last to close for the day. Gullible consumers assumed it was discipline that made his business tick.

He never closed even on Sundays. He had assistants to run the shop while he went for a Church service. People had to eat, and his employees needed wages.

The butcher never saw a villager he did not want to chat. The weather, the harvest, and neighbourhood gossip found airtime. Sometimes he dribbled politics with market runabouts.

Plunder of public funds thrives because the masses fall easily to the politics of handouts. They plunder, then compromise the gullible masses. The victims need to know there is a way out of this insanity. You mount a horse only if the beast bends backwards to welcome the burden.

Sometimes the needy got a free quarter after the usual village banter. But it was not the humane touch of the butcher’s persona that enticed consumers.

There was something charming: He always sold beef at half the market prices. People often wondered how he made his business.  His stock always had public health inspection stamps. His beef wasn’t fake. His stock wasn’t stale, but his take was far less.

Other butchers envied his generosity. But soon he was exposed. The man had a clandestine slaughterhouse. He also kept duplicate public health stamps. Public health inspectors always got a cut.

Stock theft soared in neighbouring villages, as his generosity grew. On one rainy day, cattle raiders were traced to his farm, where five bulls were being delivered. A farmer across the ridge had lost many bulls over time. He was suspicious. Now and then there was a smoking gun.

He unloosed vigilantes to trail a suspicious truck. The canter always had mooing sounds. There was always something like a stampede - of sturdy animals struggling for space.

Signs of something clandestine littered Mr Generous’ compound. When the news spread, Mr Generous fled. His butchery was burnt down. His slaughterhouse was destroyed.

Victims of corruption need a new consciousness – outside the law. Voters shouldn’t elect leaders on account of their war chest and handouts. Our taxes feed their war chests.

Plunder of public funds thrives because the masses fall easily to the politics of handouts. They plunder, then compromise the gullible masses. The victims need to know there is a way out of this insanity. You mount a horse only if the beast bends backwards to welcome the burden.

Folk wisdom – the late Prof Odera Oruka called it sage philosophy – advises: “First let the cows drink the water. Then you will know where to drink. If you enter the river with the cows, you will drink a lot of dung.”

Elders: “Let us find ways of trapping all aspiring for elective positions. Some have money. We need a share of this money. Let us not show them the middle finger too soon.”

“Really!”

“We know how we shall vote. You have told us. You will tell us.”

“So until then?”

“Let us invite the aspirants to as many harambees as there are. Let them bring money. We shall take. We shall eat like we do from outside caterers. We then return to our houses to do the right thing.”

“Wait until the cows are done, lest you drink dung.”