By Blamuel Njururi, Editor-in-Chief Kenya Confidential, Nairobi – March 26, 2017
The Kibichos and Boinnets in the Office of the President should stop undermining the security, stability and welfare of Kenyans who employ them to facilitate the government’s ability and duty to develop the country instead of losing billions of shillings in officially aided corruption
Corruption is the biggest threat to President Uhuru Kenyatta’s re-election bid for a second term that will give him 5 years presidency. If the so-called opposition leadership were to package corruption as the major reason for the country’s insecurity, bad governance, under-development and all other socio-economic evils for Kenyan voters to fully understand why they are helplessly sinking in an ocean of poverty, Uhuru would go home regardless the momentous Jubilee coalition achievements.
There is no doubt that Jubilee has achieved more in infrastructure development, electrification and health fronts than any other government since abandonment of national development during 24 years of Moi dictatorship but corruption has also become a Trillion-shilling-enterprise ruing lives of million of Kenyans. Corruption has such durable socio-economic disabling ability that it even manifests itself upon unborn babies. It denies pregnant mothers proper nutritional diet and antenatal care affecting the unborn children.
Corruption welcomes new-born babies to a world of extravagant plunder by the evil-driven schools land grabbers, greedy corrupt public officers and politicians delivering millions of voters to a forsaken world of rural populations and poverty-stricken urban slum settlements. These large numbers of anguished voters are easy and gullible target to manipulate by repeatedly pointing an accusing finger at the government and its leader Uhuru.
Besides pointing out at the real predicament of poor populations eking their livelihoods in poverty every day, the opposition has been skirting around the misery its governors have visited large Kenyan populations and lumping the blame on Uhuru’s government. Salting the selective blame and spicing it with lies can work miracles to convince ignorant Kenyans that indeed, Uhuru must go – purely by default not reason.
Corruption has sent home more than five presidents since Uhuru came to power four years ago. The latest victim South Korean President was Removed From Office Over Corruption a week ago. The South Korea woman President Park Geun-hye was removed from office, as the country’s Constitutional Court unanimously upheld a parliamentary vote to impeach her for her role in a corruption and influence-peddling scandal. She visited Kenya in May last year. Like Uhuru, she was elected president in 2013.
Former Korean President Park Geun-hye sent home over corruption
However, as the Swahili say, kikulacho kiko nguoni mwako – literally that means your enemy is within. President Uhuru has repeatedly been criticized as having no political will to fight corruption. He is accused of doing nothing about corruption in his government despite sacking ministers implicated in corruption, some mischievously, and a record number of civil servants being paraded in courts to answer corruption charges.
There is no doubt that very many and appropriate New Laws have been introduced to curb and punish Corruption in Kenya but as is always the case, a law is as good as its implementation by both the citizens, the enforcement agencies and the Judiciary. It is however, impossible to legislate adherence to any law and its effective control over human behaviour.
There are some who say, quite illogically, that laws are made to be broken but that, unfortunately, is very real in Kenya when it comes to Corruption and behaviour on our roads. The Kenya police have for decades taken the lead in corruption ranking. Many have in recent times been sacked or charged for corruption but that has not served as a deterrent to the bribe takers and givers.
The police department is within the Office of the President as is the defense and devolution both of which have featured prominently on matters corruption. Taking cognizance of constant blame on the ministry and the presidency lack of “political will” it is a matter of common sense that the Cabinet Secretaries and Principal Secretaries should be at the front line fighting corruption by creating awareness within their ranks and file.
Corruption awareness is the first line of defense against the social evil. The Office of the President gatekeepers led by Cabinet Secretaries and Principal Secretaries should be able to recognize the damning effects corruption has on Corporate image of the Presidency and government. They are part and parcel of the government and the moment they recognize the socio-economic and security threats posed by corruption they should embrace efforts of creating anti-corruption awareness and advocacy.
Kibicho: Not bothered about Police anti-corruption awareness
But what have they done? They have opted to be joyriders literally shouting “serikali saidia” while they sit back waiting for their monthly salaries and allowances as their ministries and the country sink deeper into the ravenous jaws of corruption. Those are officers President Uhuru should get rid of if his war on corruption will gain momentum with government itself in his second term.
Policy makers should fight corruption at all levels not wait for the Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission to come knocking on their doors or risk their lives when chasing police officers on open highways. That is called thinking outside the box and exploring opportunities beyond government circulars.
One year ago I sent a letter to the Office of President proposing a collaborative approach to Anti-Corruption Awareness within the ministry staff. The letter addressed to the Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery and copied to the Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho and Inspector General Joseph Boinnet. Boinnet was quick to threaten a police corruption victim with arrest when he narrated his sad experience at State House during Corruption and Governance Summit. A clear indication that corruption within police ranks is of no concern or consequence to him and his monthly package.
Nkaissery left the duty of responding to the letter to his accounting officer Kibicho who dutifully appreciated the concern over corporate denigration by corruption and need for such awareness but “we have no funds set aside for that purpose for now”. One year down the line on April 4th, no funds have been set aside for that purpose nor has he has sought any for such a purpose. A clear indication that corruption within police ranks is of no concern or consequence to him and his monthly package.
It is shocking that these highly educated key officers should display such naked ignorance to a problem that can cost their boss his job in a few months time. The truth of the matter is that these are people who have turned president Uhuru into a songbird on matters corruption. To them corruption is there to stay and their jobs are secure within the Public Service Commission and National Police Service Commission whether Uhuru wins or loses.
Whereas it is not within their responsibilities to prop President Uhuru political survival, it is incumbent upon them to fight corruption within their ranks and file. That is a responsibility of all civil servants and public officers who are increasingly asking for higher salaries and allowances from majority taxpayers extorted by police officers every day.
- Kenyans are regularly told the Government is not fighting corruption, the President does not have the political will, the government is corrupt and many other claims. Governments are run through Constitutions and Laws of the land. In Kenya that applies to both Central and County governments. Government as corporate institutions are incapable of corruption or being corrupt but the individuals in government, both politicians and civil servants can and are capable of being corrupt and engaging in corruption.
- That does not stop Raila Odinga crowned by a seemingly compromised media as opposition leader from feeding Kenyans on a regular mixed grill of Jubilee government corruption disinformation that the media never subjects to any fact-check. The media is also reluctant or unwilling to include government clarification. A good example is the video clip “Raila Odinga reveals an alleged scandal of Sh28 billion that involves President Uhuru Kenyatta” citing money that was never paid as clarified by the Transport or Treasury Cabinet Secretaries.
No country in the world has a Constitution or laws allowing Corruption as part of its service to tax-payers who finance its activities. It is therefore important to make Kenyans understand that is the position with their Government whether it’s Jubilee, NASA, Cord, Kanu or Wiper. Branding a government as Corrupt is politicizing the social evil because Corruption is a self-motivated and self-inflicted crime – as simple as that.
- Corruption also has nothing that pertains to ethnic origins of a corrupt person. Corruption is therefore, not driven by one’s ethnic background but by individual greed and desire for easy-come wealth through bribery, fraudulent means or extortion. When the Government name is invoked as responsible for Corruption fear is instilled into citizens who are made afraid to confront what they consider powerful animal known as Serikali. That is indirectly intimidating citizens to surrender to robbery of public coffers and assets by a few greedy gluttons.
- It is essential that Kenyans to understand that Corruption is a social evil driven by greedy individuals and no by the Government or communities. It is a social evil that should be every patriotic Kenyan’s concern. Corruption is a cancer that should be fought by all Kenyans regardless of the social standing, ethnic background, religious or political persuasion.
- Quite often we are told on Television Talk shows that Corruption is a reflection of the Kenyan society. That is an escapist and unfounded fallacy. We have more drunkards is Kenya than the corrupt people but we don’t say alcoholism is a reflection of the Kenyan society. We also have more sex workers in Kenyan than the corrupt population but we don’t say prostitution is a reflection of the Kenyan society. They are personal inflicted choices like Corruption is.
- Kenyans must disabuse themselves from that fallacy because, after all, the total number of civil servants, where Corruption thrives, is a small 2 per cent of the national population and even when added to an equally small number of corrupt managers in the private sector, they cannot constitute a reflection of the Kenya Society.
- That is not to underestimate the horrifying social-economic damage Corruption inflicts upon the Kenyan society and our beloved Motherland. Small as the corrupt population may be, it steals a third of our National Budget. With our National Budget at Ksh 3 Trillion, corrupt individuals numbering less than one million will steal one Trillion. It therefore, behooves upon all Kenyans to stop these shameless thieves in their tracks.
That is why the Kibichos and Boinnets in the Office of the President should stop undermining the security, stability and welfare of Kenyans who employ them to facilitate the government’s ability and duty to develop the country instead of losing billions of shillings in officially aided corruption.