Sunday Reading: In God’s Name, Uhuru Must be Serious with Corruption War

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By Blamuel Njururi, Citizens Against Corruption National Coordinator, Nairobi – October 21, 2018

President Uhuru Kenyatta must respect the Almighty God in his vows on the fight against Corruption and resist the temptation of using the Lord’s name in vain. Most of the Corrupt Kenyans do not even believe in God. They use churches to mask their criminal faces. Nobody who believes in God can ruthlessly steal from fellow human beings – some dying in hospitals and on roads

In recent months President Uhuru Kenyatta has invoked God’s name in several of his vows on the fight against Corruption by his government. This is in line with the general thinking of those who believe that “God helps those who help themselves”.

Indeed, one of the most familiar verses attributed to the Bible is, “God helps those who help themselves.” The problem is, that “verse” is not in the Holy Book There is a true sense to that bit of folk wisdom, in that the Bible exhorts us to be disciplined and hardworking in all that we do. To begin a fight on Corruption and then ask God to get you through the fight is not wise! Diligent planning, action and prayer are God’s means for success against endemic Corruption weighing heavily on the Kenyan Nation. Indeed, an appropriate adage says, Action speaks louder than words.

However, there is another sense in which the aphorism, “God helps those who help themselves,” goes completely against Scripture. Our human instinctive tendency is to trust primarily in ourselves and only secondarily, if at all, in God. Thus we are quick to take the credit for any successes that come our way. We may give a passing tip of the hat to God for His part, but the primary glory goes to us for all our hard work or presumed genius. But to the extent that we fail to give all the credit to God, we rob Him of Glory.

The Holy Books of Bible and Koran have a stern warning not to call the name of God in vain. In the Bible the third Commandment commands that “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.” Commandment number Nine simply warns “Thou shalt not steal.” Stealing from Public Coffers entails Corruption.

In Islam the Ten Commandments are the well-known instructions, the essence of the Torah, which Allah revealed to Moses on Mount Sinai, peace and blessings be upon him. The commandments prohibit the major sins of idolatry, impiety, disrespect for parents, murder, theft, adultery, false witness, and envy.

These commandments are among the core teachings of Judaism and Christianity that are taught to children at an early age, and all of them are included within the teachings of Islam. Some believe these commands go back as far as the seven laws of Noah, peace and blessings be upon him.

As such, these commandments can be the basis of interfaith dialogue and mutually-beneficial cooperation between Muslims, Jews, and Christians in the Fight Against Corruption. They are the “common word” for which we can all come together in agreement. President Uhuru Kenyatta must respect the Almighty God in his vows on the fight against Corruption and resist the temptation of using the Lord’s name in vain.

Most of the Corrupt Kenyans do not even believe in God. They use churches to mask their criminal faces. Nobody who believes in God can ruthlessly steal from fellow human beings – some dying in hospitals and on roads. That is why they should be shamed in public, prosecuted and their proceeds of corruption recovered, auctioned and cash paid to the Treasury.

As you read this article President Uhuru has yet to hold a heart-to-heart discussion with Inter-religious Council of Kenya, the National Christian Churches of Kenya (NCCK) or Supreme Muslim Council of Kenya (Supkem), Hindu Council of Kenya or any religious sect individually or as a group to enlist religious establishments as spiritual foot soldiers in his war on Corruption. How he expects to succeed without the men and women of God and their faithfuls remains to be seen – especially after the they joined the EACC as partners in the War on Corruption in February 2017 after former ACK Archbishop Eliud Webukhala took over. That points towards his handlers opposed to the Corruption war – and many are beneficiaries over the years.

President Uhuru has also not seen the sense in enlisting his country’s citizens in a practical sense to support his war on Corruption in which they are always direct victims or collateral damage. To many Kenyans Corruption happens in Government offices where money is stolen through Goldenberg, Angloleasing, Eurobond or from NYS, NHIF, NSSF and of late National Cereals and Produce Board. Money stolen within their County Governments is not a problem to them. To them bribes given to police and those they receive from politicians during elections is not corruption.

Beyond money being stolen or changing hands whose perpetrators Uhuru is pursuing with the Directorate of Criminal investigations, the Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission and the Directorate of Public Prosecutions, he has left out public participation in the government endeavour despite the fact that it is a Constitutional requirement. The public must be part and parcel of the Fight Against Corruption for it to succeed.

Failure by Uhuru leaves the doors wide open for Organised Criminal Syndicated of which many senior personalities from the doorsteps of State House, through his government ministries to village Chiefs are part of. The hundreds of millions of shillings found under mattresses of senior government officers and politicians should tell Uhuru that his will be an uphill fight not a walk in the park.

President Uhuru is, in his own words and in public domain, surrounded by corrupt men at State House, Office of the President and his Cabinet whose propellant has been looting public coffers, land grabbing and bribery. It is not clear why he finds fortitude in their company or why he thinks his war on corruption will succeed when the gatekeepers watch his every step he makes against their Corruption empire. That is how previous efforts by Presidents Daniel arap Moi and Mwai Kibaki failed.

Moi was swallowed into Goldenberg International financial heist with his top lieutenants including the Director of National Intelligence James Kanyotu. Kibaki found himself saddled with multi-billion-shillings Anglo Leasing phantom projects hatched in Moi era and for which Uhuru was forced to pay billions of shillings. That a Corruption syndicate could ingest the head of National Intelligence to protect itself speaks volumes just how determined the corrupt can go to protect their trillion-shilling-worth industry against the government.

Kanyotu was Kenya’s longest-serving spy master, the most elusive and dreaded. He was part of all major political events that shaped Kenya, for better or worse. But for the 27 years he headed the Directorate of Security Intelligence (then known as Special Branch), the public never knew how burly Kanyotu looked – from 1965 until his retirement in 1991.

Media houses had no photo of Kanyotu until he was forced to testify during the Goldenberg Commission of Inquiry in 2004 into how Kenya lost over Ksh 60 billion through Goldenberg International, where he was a director alongside Kamlesh Pattni. Photographs of Kanyotu by  media photographers disappeared before reaching editorial desks.

Power brokers in Kenya are the ones who decide who takes what decision in government, who occupies what Cabinet post and top offices in ministries, parastatals or foreign missions. Their club is what former South African President and Lawyer of great intelligence, Nelson Mandela, called the Third Force. That is why the President Uhuru finds himself faced with awkward and embarrassing situations of;

  • Government promises that are never fulfilled without any plausible reasons,
  • People tainted in corruption taking Cabinet and diplomatic posts,
  • Endless looting of public coffers,
  • Mounting insecurity,
  • Dysfunctional government operations, and,
  • Failure to engage citizens in the Fight Against Corruption
  • Chinese flooding urban and rural areas as vendors and hawkers in Chinese merchandise.

Kenya has a government that can never agree on fixing essential bodies like;

  1. The so-called Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) with a Referendum gathering momentum and National Boundaries Review a year away.
  2. The essential water disputes arbitrator – Water Appeal Board – that would rule on cases like Nairobi-Murang’a water wrangles among others, is not constituted and,
  3. Constituency Development Fund Board to enable implementations of projects decided by voters is yet to be constituted since elections last year.
  4. National Road safety Authority (NTSA) that has proven it’s a dismal failure.

It will be a great disappointment to Kenyans to see their president fail is the Fight against Corruption because even his Big 4 Agenda will fall like a house built on quick sand. Indeed, some politicians are skeptically telling Kenyans that the Lifestyle Audit has failed. During his speech on Mashujaa Day, Uhuru did not want to tell Kenya about his frustrations on the exercise but his call for the EACC to disclose public officers wealth declaration was a clear indication of the stone wall he is banging his head against.

Early signs of his failure are appearing in courts of law that are known to have a good number of the Third Force brigade. Judiciary is one arm of government whose judges are caught with their hands dripping with corruption and given millions of shillings sendoff to enjoy their proceeds of their criminal wealth. Any law that allows sections of the Kenyan society like the judiciary and the police to enjoy ill-gotten wealth must be amended without delay. As the President himself says Mwizi ni Mwizi and should never enjoy selective jurisprudence.

The president should also spread his gospel against Corruption to wananchi with visible messages through out the country – a job that the EACC and the seemingly dead National Anti Corruption Steering Committee, should have done from the word go. Kenyans don’t see any Anti-Corruption billboards anywhere in the country nor hear programmes on televisions or radio stations. Not a single County has launched a campaign against Corruption unlike South Africa where regional state governments run campaigns against Corruption.

South African Western Cape Government Anti-Corruption campaign

Far from the domestic situation, the president should take full advantage of the window provided by foreign government to recover money stashed in offshore accounts – some valuable records are in the  International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, revelations that continue to leak information on so-called safe international havens. Kenya Government’s own Kroll report was never acted upon giving illicit financial outflow perpetrators courage to continue with tax evasion by exporting Kenya money to build foreign economies.

Refusal or reluctance by those holding over Ksh 5 trillion in offshore accounts should be a clear message to Uhuru that rich Kenyans do not think his war on corruption will succeed. An amnesty for Kenyans to return money held abroad has had little impact with a new report showing Ksh 5 trillion is held in offshore accounts. The money is enough to run the country’s budget for two years and can also retire the mountain of debt (Ksh 5.1 trillion) that has caused pain through heavy taxation of basic commodities.

A report titled, “Who Owns the Wealth in Tax Havens? Macro Evidence and Implications for Global Inequality” – by National Bureau of Economic Research, a US-based think tank, found that Kenya, given the size of the economy, was an “outlier” in terms of the number of shell companies registered by citizens.

“Among the countries that created a lot of shell companies (relative to the size of their economy), one finds Jordan, Russia, Taiwan, the U.A.E., Venezuela, Zimbabwe and Kenya – which all have high offshore wealth to GDP ratios,” says the report.

Uhuru’s National Treasury Cabinet Secretary sees no need to force those holding huge sums of money out there, many ostensibly to evade taxation. Last year he announced extension for additional 5 years moratorium (beyond deadline set for June this year) by which Uhuru’s tenure will be gone and a more tolerant William Ruto will probably have taken over as Moi 2 presidency. Such attitude when Kenyans are being weighed down by unprecedented taxation can only mean complacency as a conspirator against his motherland.

Furthermore, money experts argue that Kenya’s “very high rate of taxation” and “very little in terms of incentives” made it difficult for “someone who wishes to invest the money in Kenya.” Many Kenyans are shifting their money from Switzerland to safer hideouts.