CORRUPTION

Sh2bn just pocket change to looters

In Summary
  • Graft cases involving prominent figures are before courts, but you can be sure that nothing will befall the mighty
  • A category of get-rich-quick leaders cum entrepreneurs has conspired with the bench and the bar to subvert justice
Corruption in government
Corruption in government

A loss of billions of shillings in 24 hours throughout the year is by all accounts not a small amount in an African country where the majority survive on less than a dollar a day.

However, it struck many that it is business as usual in Kenya after President Uhuru Kenyatta disclosed that the nation loses Sh2 billion daily which Covid-19 millionaires and colleagues in graft would refer to as pocket change.

If only what Kenya receives as loans and grants from international and bilateral donors were put into intended use, the nation would glitter as a model on the continent. Unfortunately, that is not the case for now.

Tarmac roads and electricity supply are luxuries the country can ill afford after 58 years of independence yet the country borrows purposely to finance infrastructure projects.

Health ministry guidelines on the regular washing of hands as a measure of combating the spread of Covid-19 cannot be observed in some parts of the country for lack of clean running water.

Funds allocated for water projects have been squandered and stolen by the privileged few. One such example is the Kamwarer dam that is yet to be constructed. A foreign contractor defaulter is demanding Sh12.4 billion compensation for breach of contract for a deal that is yet to take off.

Graft cases involving prominent figures are before courts, but you can be sure that nothing will befall the mighty who are ready to use the loot to bribe their way into leadership come next year.

A category of get-rich-quick leaders cum entrepreneurs has conspired with the bench and the bar to subvert justice. Frivolous adjournments are entertained and cases take an unnecessarily long time before they are concluded, mostly in favour of the looters.

Parliament summons to Treasury CS Ukur Yatani to shed light on the country’s appetite for borrowing is a laughable joke and another waste of public funds.

From the ethnic cocoons, investigative agencies and the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission bear the brunt of frustrations and name callings when looters are apprehended. The arrest of looters elicits community sympathy whose members can loudly be heard saying ‘our community is being targeted for persecution and elimination”. Convicting sacred cows is a tall order.  

But these celebrated thieves do not consult their communities before they undertake theft plots, neither do they share the loot. Political parties too are complicit in the plunder of national resources. They, without exception, shamelessly welcome the looters as new life members and without a wink clear crooks to run for election.

Infrastructure projects, whose costs have been inflated, have stalled or been abandoned as billions of shillings sink into bottomless pits. Trickle-down effect of donor funds is an alien term to gluttonous policymakers afraid of being denied an opportunity to plunder national coffers.

In the circumstances, who takes the blame? The gullible voters on the one hand and the legislature on the other? On matters revenue and expenditure, Parliament has abandoned its oversight and legislative roles. It is safe to conclude that it is an Executive rubber stamp.

So Parliament summons to Treasury CS Ukur Yatani to shed light on the country’s appetite for borrowing is a laughable joke and another waste of public funds.

Freelance journalist. [email protected]