• Indeed, you can hear them in political rallies shouting, “MwiziWetu! MwiziWetu” (He may be a thief, but he is our thief!)
• Leadership with integrity quite often wins the heart of the public and leads to economic sovereignty, but that has not been the case amongst some of the top State officials in Kenya.
During the clamour for multi-party democracy, one of the major drivers of the conversation was the need for Kenya to have leaders of personal integrity, who would get Kenya out of the rut that it was in at that time. Plunder of public resources by insatiably greedy public officials (and sometimes in cahoots with private individuals) was rife. In fact, you were laughed at if you were a “poor” public official whose only source of income was their salary.
Today, there are still some people who have no problem with those who steal public resources as long as they give them breadcrumbs and handouts. Indeed, you can hear them in political rallies shouting, “MwiziWetu! MwiziWetu” (He may be a thief, but he is our thief!)
That said, a vast majority of Kenyans despise leaders without integrity. It may not reflect in the choices of men and women we elect into public office, but Kenyans just want systems to work so they can earn an honest living. Leadership with integrity quite often wins the heart of the public and leads to economic sovereignty, but that has not been the case amongst some of the top State officials in Kenya.
In the Financial Year 2020/2021 a report released by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC), 83 investigations were finalised touching on violations of Chapter Six of the Constitution on Leadership and Integrity. It is evident that public officials disregard integrity in their conduct of official duty as reflected by the over Sh5 billion traced and Sh6.2 billion recovered as illegally acquired and unexplained assets by EACC.
A lot of work has been done by the EACC to ensure prevention of corruption in public institutions including identifying corruption loopholes, advising the state agencies on how to seal the loopholes, yet public officials continue to engage in corruption.
The EACC has proactively implemented sophisticated measures to deter corruption in public institutions including; systems reviews, corruption risk assessments and advisories on prevention of corruption and bribery. Further, the Commission developed corruption prevention guidelines and monitored the implementation.
The Commission also implemented public awareness programmes to foster public support and build capacity of various sectors in the fight against corruption.
Other corruption interventions include; public outreach programmes reaching 3,220 participants; 44 Civil Society engagements with 501,907 participants; media education programmes on radio, television and newspapers. In addition, the Commission trained 950 members of Corruption Prevention Committees from 60 public institutions and 231 institutions of learning.
The Commission also conducted 91 general sensitisation sessions reaching 4,320 participants and trained 500 Integrity Assurance Officers from 23 institutions.
Despite all these measures, the country is currently grappling with the issue of leaders with questionable integrity running for office in the upcoming general elections. These leaders, upon appointment swore an oath to adhere to Leadership and Integrity Codes as provided under Chapter Six of the Constitution and related laws.
EACC has done its role to prevent corruption and promote adherence to Chapter Six.
However, when it comes to enforcement, anti-graft agencies are faced by challenges including slow judicial processes, a weak legal framework in implementation of Chapter Six and lack of a legal mechanism to ensure implementation of system review recommendations.
The EACC has done its part by implementing measures against corruption, the Independent Electoral Boundaries Commission (IEBC) promises to deliver free and fair elections, yet the public have a role to play for the future of this nation to be salvaged. The public includes leaders like former Governors Ferdinand Waititu and Mike Sonko among others, who despite being tainted with graft are still vying.
It is now time for the citizens to look deeply into Chapter Six on leadership and integrity which pushes the idea that State Officers are the nerve centre of the country, they carry the highest level of responsibility therefore, their conduct should be beyond reproach.
Then there are aspirants who take EACC to court for enforcing it's mandate of fighting corruption, yet behind the scenes they cry foul over a country without efficient leadership and systems. The blatant message to them is that they should walk the talk by shunning corruption and corrupt leaders with everything possible.
Kenyans have generally left the responsibility of pointing out corruption to the government, activists and the opposition. And yet corruption is right under our noses. It is the corrupt leaders we elect, the bribes we take from them, the silence we portray when leaders go astray and the indifference we show when our tribal leaders are accused of corruption. Renown South African Anglican Bishop and Theologian Desmond Tutu, an anti-apartheid and human rights activist was quoted saying, “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressors.”
You are a Kenyan, who by law should be voting in the upcoming General Elections, are you living up to the standards of the requirements of Chapter Six on Leadership and Integrity? Are you voting in a leader because of a Sh200 bribe, or because he will streamline the economic welfare of this country and make accessible public service in the health, education, infrastructure, agriculture and industrialisation sectors?