• The corrupt are brave because, rather than accept guilt for their crimes, their communities exonerate them from blame, claiming they are victims of ethnic discrimination.
• They also know that however much they are publicly condemned, they can still get bonds and bails, or actually go scot-free without being prosecuted however guilty.
The corrupt are brave and shameless in this country.
Even when they are arraigned, they are shameless and brazen and look at people, not as persons who have offended the public but as those who people have been offended.
So, why and how can people accused of corruption be so brave?
First, the corrupt in Kenya don’t fear social ostracism. They know they are admired and considered heroes by their very victims who go without food, lack treatment in poorly funded and staffed hospitals, have terrible and impassable roads, lack water and land for schools.
The corrupt are brave because, rather than accept guilt for their crimes, their communities exonerate them from blame, claiming they are victims of ethnic discrimination.
They also know that however much they are publicly condemned, they can still get bonds and bails, or actually go scot-free without being prosecuted however guilty.
If you look at all the high-ranking public officials that have been paraded in court for corruption, none has been convicted or jailed. It is impossible to convince people that the government is fighting corruption if graft suspects are never convicted and jailed.
Instead of having a system that fights corruption, ours breeds it and is rigged against honesty and integrity. The corrupt in Kenya don’t fear corruption because the fight against it is impotent. Our system is in cahoots with it and power is most at home with both graft and its system.
Though Kenya has always had corruption, there has never been as much theft as we have today. Indeed, public denunciations that are made against graft only fuel the fires of the vice to greater heights. Levels of corruption have even reached such heights that elsewhere, people would be in the streets demonstrating for government resignation as happened in Sudan and Algeria.
Corruption is hardly new in Kenya. Every government since Independence has had its share of it that has steadily increased with subsequent regimes doing more to increase rather than uproot it.
With the report of Ndegwa Commission after Independence, President Jomo Kenyatta gave corruption of the civil service its ideological justification to date, arguing “there will always be the ram of making boundaries” and “you may be corrupt as long as you don’t get caught.”
Property made through this corruption can never be justified.
Under President Daniel Moi, Kenya was made a presidential property that was shared out to cronies, relatives and children, all who claim their wealth to be legitimate.
Under President Mwai Kibaki, persons in power quietly made their money as corruptly as those before them. Those who submitted themselves to personal audit – Kalembe Ndile, Koigi wa Wamwere, Kivutha Kibwana and Danson Mungatana – were ridiculed and dismissed as seekers of cheap popularity.
Under President Uhuru Kenyatta, we have seen more corruption than ever before and people have become poorer. Corruption has now reached unfathomable heights. In the day, we condemn corruption. At night we dip our snouts in it. People whose integrity is unknown are given jobs, not to eradicate corruption but eat what is left. Though hundreds are in court for corruption, hardly anyone is in jail. People given jobs to eat can never be crusaders against corruption.
Ultimately, it is President Kenyatta who is responsible for failure to end graft. To eradicate corruption, we must end the old and new graft, new and old leaders whose vision is tired, blurred and unable to slay this dragon.