10 steps of dealing with corruption in Kenya
A while ago, MP Alfred Keter and Anglican archbishop, Eliud Wabukala were of the idea that corruption be declared a national disaster. And rightfully so. At the moment, virtually every government ministry and parastatal is embroiled in a corruption scandal and the monies being mentioned are driving Kenyan nuts. And now the previously Cabinet Secretaries asked to step aside are being cleared one by one. And soon, no one will be found guilt. May be one or two fall guys who will rightfully claim that it is witch-hunting, and they will call all manner of meetings to declare their innocence and even join the opposition who will take them in, making it impossible for the opposition to fight corruption when their time comes.
My take is, this generation of leaders will never fight corruption since they are governed by unconscionable greed. They inherited it and they will pass it to their kids, who will intermarry and exchange government tenders with an entitlement that will even shame the devil. We have been here before. Don’t be naive. The money that will change hands during campaigns does not grow on trees. So here is the cycle of fighting corruption in Kenya.
But Kenyans deal with corruption in unusual styles. Here are 10 steps n how corruption unravels.
Like paying tax, whistle-blowing is a thankless job in Kenya, given the way our taxes are chewed with primitive notoriety. No sooner one risks his neck to blow out the whistle on a scandal than is ethnicity is scrutinized and two things happen:If he is of a different political divide, he will be dismissed as playing politics or just having a dessert of sour grapes. If he belongs to the government of the day, he will be dimmed as a sell-out. Generally, he will be forgotten sooner and relegated to oblivion where he will die miserably, a`la David Munyakei.
- Debate goes takes an ethnic-political angle
If for in stance, Raila castigates the government of the day, he will be dismissed as someone merely pandering to populist agenda aiming for some votes in 2017. The government of the day will blame the opposition of witch-hunting and asks their voters to be wary of the opposition and must come out to guard the hard-earned power power fastidiously. They will say that corruption claims are exaggerated and it is something they inherited from the past governments. It is never about the stolen monies.
Both CORD and JAP have their share of scandals
What makes corruption fighting difficult is that either side is embroiled in a scandal that goes back to history. Given every big name in the country was once in the government, there is virtually no one whose name has never been mentioned in one scandal or another. Therefore they both live in glass houses, and few stones are thrown. If you become a nuisance, a scandal is unearthed to silence you.
- Kenyan middle-class act apathetically
The Kenyan middle-class who by their education, exposure and the fact that they are the most taxed should be the loudest critics are often too quiet. They leave the war on graft to politicians and the civil society that is patently dismissed to be carrying some Western agenda. Remember the war on corruption is never about the billions swindled.
- Gets too hot-welcome a diversion
In the unlikely event it becomes too much, a digression will be welcome. A socialite might leak her nudes. A grenade attack will help divert attention a little. A high profile death-natural or otherwise. Anything that can take the heat off those mentioned is always welcome.
- Create a Task Force
Before they took up the kinkier and sexier name, they were known as ‘Commissions of Inquiry’. It is basically an old boys’ club often headed by an old tough-talking lawyer, some grey-headed old men and talkative middle-aged men and the odd woman. Their job is simply to pocket fat salaries, dragging through legalities until Kenyans get fatigued and thankfully forget. Which they do sooner rather than later. The proceedings on national television will remembered more for the theatrics and shenanigans than any scrutiny to tell Kenyans the truth.
- Someone might actually be sacked
In the rare event, someone often gets suspended or voluntarily steps down. But this is as rare as winter in Equator. Often someone gets sacked or rested. Or reshuffled to a different and colourless ministry such as Environment.
Reinstated back to head a parastatal or some less known institution
Given corrupt men and women hold a huge political and tribal clout around them, you cannot dismiss them entirely. They can always win you some votes. So little wonder you see in the nether parts of the newspaper or the ‘in other news’ part of prime time news that the man or woman who was adversely mentioned in a scandal a few years ago has been named to head some defunct institution like the Pyrethrum Board. They always win, these grey-haired thieves. They will be pocketing huge salaries and have a guaranteed parking slot.
- Alternatively they get elected back
With the loot they steal they can always buy their way to parliament or relevance. Kenyans never mind corrupt individuals as long as he shares the loot. Kenyans don’t mind freebies, even from a questionable source.
Officially, fighting corruption now sounds like a broken record. Our amnesia ranks ten cadres lower that of a gold fish and only bettered by a warthog. So this cycle eventually repeats itself. It has been the same song four regimes since we kicked the noisome Brits out. And unlikely to change in our life time.