Sunday Reading: Fighting Corruption is Not Rocket Science

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By Blamuel Njururi, Kenya Confidential Editor-in-Chief, Nairobi – September 23, 2018

Public participation must be extended to national governance not only in parliamentary legislative processes and government tendering system but to the management of their government and their priorities. Uhuru should find time to chat with Citizens Against Corruption on views of how ordinary Kenyans can participate in the War on Corruption and make money as they create anti-corruption awareness and create millions of jobs, which will increase tax revenue. He has been blocked by his handlers far too long posing the question as to whose interest they serve at State House – those of corruption cartels or national prosperity?

President Uhuru Kenyatta must stop living in the Ivory Tower of State House and Harambee House and climb down to earth to meet the real Kenyans who elected him twice last year. During the campaign meetings Uhuru promised a lot of goodies but never gave any Kenyan any opportunity to tell him what the so-called Wanjiku priorities are. He therefore never talked with Wanjiku, he talked at Wanjiku.

It is time now that he talks with Wanjiku and he can easily borrow a page from Paul Kagame’s book on meet-the-people-development-module through which the Rwandese president chats with ordinary citizens on matters that are of concern to them and how the government can work with them to boost development and prosperity.

Public participation must be extended to national governance not only in parliamentary legislative processes and government tendering system but to the management of their government and their their priorities. Uhuru should find time to chat with Citizens Against Corruption on views of how ordinary Kenyans can participate in the War on Corruption and make money as they create anti-corruption awareness and create millions of jobs, which will increase tax revenue. He has been blocked by his handlers far too long posing the question as to whose interest they serve at State House – those of corruption cartels or national prosperity?

The Kenya government and puppets around the President listen to the rich and allow them to flood the country with luxury goods, import counterfeit merchandise, poisoned foodstuffs and a long list of products that can be produced or manufactured locally. They listen to people with grandiose projects through which transform looters of public coffers into overnight millionaires at taxpayers’ expense.

The rich in Kenya share their wealth is with farmers and manufacturers in foreign countries from whom they import merchandise to satisfy their insatiable appetite for luxuries ranging from toothpicks, watches, clothes, fruits, eggs, bacon, cooking oils, furniture, photo frames, wallpapers, tens of millions worth of cars, helicopters etc, etc.

As you read this article Maize farmers in Western Kenya and parts of the Rift Valley have huge stocks of maize selling for as little as Ksh 800 per bag. The rich sold imported maize to the National Cereals and Produce Board in trailers as local farmers queued for weeks without being attended to. Next year they will have no incentive to plant maize as they struggle with their children school fees problems.

Prospects are that their next crop will be even cheaper and most of it will go to waste for lack of buyers – Kenya’s stable food. The government should give more incentives to farmers. Then bring largescale farmers into the tax bracket and tax them at a rate of 10 percent. The rich Kenyans appetite for imports means that nothing local is worth their consumption except the God-given oxygen.

When Kenya stops importing things like processed foodstuffs and textiles, shoes, and motor cycles it will encourage manufacturing – a subject of the Big 4 Uhuru dreams – which will in turn create jobs with incomes that can be taxed easily – VAT and PAYE. The government can introduce a special tax for those worth more than Ksh 1 billion, not because Kenyans should not be rich people but because Corrupt people in this country rarely give back to Kenyan society.

Kenya should with immediate effect ban importation of products that can be produced or manufactured locally draining Kenya financially and creating jobs in foreign countries – they include eggs, fruits, dairy products, cooking oils, furniture, toothpicks etc. Indeed, President Kenyatta, along with his finance cabinet secretary Henry Rotich should make an impromptu tour of Nairobi Supermarkets and see for themselves the drainage Kenya is suffering from importation of goods we can produce locally.

Senior public servants live a luxurious lifestyle of the monied rich after siphoning cash from public coffers in shameless manner. Former director of the National Youth Service would comfortably go to a massage parlour in Westlands and give the woman working on him a cool Ksh 20,000 as a tip. That was not money from his businesses but from public coffers he was using to massage his ego. That is by no means an isolated case.

That is how Kenya cabinet secretaries, principal secretaries, parastatal managing directors, chief executives and Speakers in Kenya Parliament behave. People who drive in the middle of chase cars with sirens like ambulances rushing dying patients to hospitals. They sit on a bottomless moneybags to live in Heaven on Earth when ordinary Kenyans agonize in Hell on Earth.

The ongoing lifestyle audit has revealed unjustifiable wealth accumulated by civil service through corruption hard to imagine – their favourite dish. That life must end with the current War on Corruption in order to plug public funds pilferage and wastage.

Fighting Corruption is not Rocket Science. An effective method of fighting corruption is to:-

  1. Send those found to be corrupt home to HUMILIATE them before their friends and families, especially spouses who never hold their partners to account for living beyond their official emoluments. The president himself set the precedent when he sent Cabinet Secretaries home when Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission gave him names that had not been prosecuted before any court and many were not while others were acquitted for lack of evidence like current Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu – a victim of land grabbers cartels,
  2. Parade the corrupt in Courts to humiliate them before the public. Corrupt people develop a strong sense of self-importance, self-glorification and self-aggrandizement thinking those who live honest lives are fools – so thought former Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero who bragged he was not being paid bananas when worked in Mumias Sugar Company that he milked dry and former National Lands Commission chair Mohammed Swazuri telling journalists they could not fire him and he was going nowhere a few days before he was paraded in a Corruption Court. The Corrupt are blind to the fact that pride comes before a fall,
  3. Jail them for long years to learn that corruption does not pay and they cannot enjoy the money they stole while in jail. Fight corruption to the end and spare no sacred cows.
  4. Recover all proceeds of Corruption comprising money and assets locally and internationally Uhuru should take full advantage of the window opened by foreign governments through which cash stashed by Kenyans in offshore accounts will be repatriated back – billions upon billions in cash stolen from Kenya taxpayers must be recovered without further delay,
  5. Never allow anyone implicated in Corruption to ever hold Public or Elective Office at all. Many corrupt Kenyans launder their blood money through political campaigns and are elected to Parliament to continue benefiting from public coffers making the Kenyan taxpayer suffer double jeopardy financially.

Former War time British Prime Minister Winston Churchill who never saw the inside of London School of Economics made an everlasting precautionary statement no world leader can challenge that, “ “For a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle.”

Here are some ideas on how to raise some money for our stressed but beloved country:

  • President Uhuru must wind up all parastatal organisations that add no value to Kenyans, some of them intended to raise public awareness on economic sabotage like
  • National Anti-Corruption Campaign Steering Committee, which serves no purpose in Kenya. A majority of Kenyans see no harm in corruption because its destruction on the Kenyan nation has never been steered towards them by the committee.
  • The Government must realize that money is not made by spending all of it on non-value-adding institutions. Politicians are the worst economic managers because they spend money that they never raise or work for.
  • Zero-rate VAT and eliminate import tax on raw materials to encourage local manufacturing and create jobs and company profits. Tax the workers and tax the corporation profit at the usual 35 % rate.
  • Economists have recently suggested a forum to share ideas that government could implement a simple, single fee taxation point via MPESA for SMEs. For instance, all SMEs with turnover of less than Ksh 1 million could pay a tax of 10k per year via MPESA, those with a turnover of  Ksh 5 million to pay a flat tax of Ksh 25,000 via MPESA, etc. This would eliminate the KRA manual collection loophole. I thought his idea made a lot of sense.
  • Arrest Parastatals CEOs who are not remitting PAYE to KRA. They are contributing to the national cash flow issue. Some even steal workers’ NSSF, NHIF and pension contributions.
  • Cut the cost of our democracy. Retain devolution, but let every county be represented by 2 MPs (one man and one woman), and a senator to represent a county without women reps. Reduce the number of MPs from the current 290 to around 100 and the number of and reduce number of MCAs from the current 1450 to around 400. Counties are already forming large economic blocks after realizing that the current Counties make no economic sense – neither do they make any political sense other than breed ethnic parochialism.
  • Retain current ministries but eliminate Chief Administrative Secretary and retain one PS per ministry with appropriate departmental heads.
  • Reduce the number of inmates and people in remand, focusing on those serving for petty crimes and giving easy-to-raise bail.
  • Reduce number of Deputy Vice Chancellors in universities to just two and eliminate the position of Principal of Colleges. Let the Deans carry out functions of principals. Make all deans elective positions for accountability.
  • Reduce foreign trips and so-called bench-mark tours for government officials and reduce size of entourage accompanying important personalities to not more than 10 people.
  • Rationalize our foreign embassies. If there is no significant trade or cultural ties with a country, eliminate our embassy there.
  • Restrict the Chinese Contractors to only build transnational trunk roads linking Kenya with other countries to superhighway standards. Right now, Chinese companies are building kichochoro and back streets when local construction companies have no work.  Local companies contractors hire local workers, employ foreign road inspectors for quality control, and pursue cowboy contractors who fail to meet the established standards.

Unless Uhuru gives serious thought to thrifty measures and keeps his eye targeted at the War on Corruption, he will fulfill the colonial prophesy of being a leader of death and darkness when Kenya crumbles economically.

Last word…