By Kenya Confidential Good Governance Editor – Nairobi, November 14, 2016
A new approach to Anti-Corruption awareness and advocacy will soon be launched by a group of journalists who have developed a wide range of common-sense preventive approach products. Their approach is founded on the age-old adage that prevention is better than cure. Indeed, the first line of defense in the war on corruption is making Kenyans fully aware of the evils of the socio-economic evil.
The journalists, in a lobby group known as Citizens Against Corruption, have for the first time developed a symbol Kenyans can identify corruption with as a consumer brand. The symbol will be used on all advocacy products. They will involve citizens across all layers of Kenyan communities to own and drive the war on corruption henceforth.
The journalists dismiss as nonsensical hypocrisy the often used argument that corruption is a way of life in Kenya pointing out that only those officials in ministries and public organisations and politicians use that argument because they are beneficiaries of the multi-billion-shilling industry. Many are corrupt to the core and think all other Kenyans are.
No Kenyan is likely to meet a fellow Kenyan he or she does not even know and volunteer to give him or her a bribe but will only do so to buy favour from corrupt public officers anxious and willing or demanding to be bribed. That public officer will most likely be in the category of a police, administrative, procurement, revenue-related, recruitment or judicial service.
During the recent State House Summit it emerged that the multi-agency team has problems synchronizing investigations, evidence and prosecution to win in a highly corrupt judicial system in which graft determine outcomes. The audience of over 300 invited guests and millions of live television viewers were shocked by the depth into which those charged to fight corruption have sunk in neglect.
Shockingly focus was on what was being done, or should be done, to punish the corrupt and no attention was paid to any preventive measures. It became clear that authorities had rather corruption continued and those caught fight it out in courts hiring the best lawyers and bribing judicial official if they could.
It came as no surprise that none of the corruption fighting agencies had any new idea to offer. They all appeared content with their jobs and fat salaries rather than strain their brains over what they considered as lost war. In turn they made President Uhuru Kenyatta look like a helplessly desperate man lost in the dense Mt Kenya forest jungle without a map or a campus to guide him out and a menacing elephant herd closing in on him.
The nearest anyone got to suggesting preventive measures was the National Anti Corruption Steering Committee boss retired Archbishop Eliud Wamukekhe Wabukala who stressed Kenyans should be preached to about the evils of corruption. Unfortunately churches have tended to give front seats to the corrupt who have traditionally been decorated as church elders for parting with generous donations.
Leading Churches has indicated they will bar politicians from lecturing to congregations about values they do not respect of observe. They no longer wish to have politicians invited as guests of honour but that will be a tall order for some religious leaders who always seek the support of politicians to climb up their evangelical ladders.
Citizens Against Corruption lobby common-sense anti-corruption advocacy products are intended to appeal to Kenyans conscience to see sense in parting company with graft. The products include casual wear, household items and commercial institutions supplies with a sole purpose of changing attitudes and social values in life.
The products will be manufactured locally creating cottage and high precision factories thereby creating job opportunities for thousands of Kenyan youths, business opportunities, saving on foreign exchange used to import similar products and earning export revenue by exporting some of the products. The initiative is planned to be a multi-billion-shilling venture spread throughout Kenyan counties.
The Summit was entertained to lengthy statements by Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission (EACC) Halakhe Dida Waqo, Director of Criminal investigations Ndegwa Muhoro, Director of Public Prosecutions Keriako Tobika and Appeal Court Judge Paul Kihara engage in a spectacular public blame-game melodrama. Attorney General minced no words when he named judiciary as the weakest link ob the war on corruption.
The judiciary in turn blamed investigative agencies, which present weak evidence or fail to collaborate evidence with the crime. Indeed, the Summit heard that some cases take as long as eight years unheard in courts with endless injunctions or flimsy sickness and as long of such period of investigation. It is common knowledge that during the intervening period corruption takes charge. Hefty bribes are given to investigators and judicial officers, witnesses are killed or intimidated to silence and cases are eventually dismissed.
The idea of lifestyle audit of investigations and judicial officers was mooted by the Deputy Solicitor General & Director, Asset Recovery Agency Ms Muthoni Kimani who also insisted that those caught in corruption must be denied the opportunity to enjoy the fruits of their criminal activities by recovering all cash and assets. Her problem remains the great likelihood that even the recovered cash could end up being recycled by the same corrupt cartels.
Indeed, Kenyans have witnesses corrupt judges and senior police officers, who are confirmed as corrupt, sent home to enjoy their ill-gotten wealth without any action to prosecute them or recover any cash and assets. That is great encouragement to public officers to plunder public coffers and demand bribes from the same public without any remorse or fear or punishment.
More information – citizensagainstcorruptionk.wordpress.com