What you need to know:
- In 1963, Kenya’s economy was reportedly at par with those of the “Asian Tigers” South Korea and Singapore.
- Thanks to corruption, it’s now over 40 times smaller!
The recent conviction of Sirisia MP John Waluke over corruption has been followed up with the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) going into overdrive, issuing orders for the arrest and prosecution of top personalities for alleged theft and misappropriation of public funds.
Migori Governor Okoth Obado, who is now threatened with impeachment by MCAs, together with four of his children, recently spent almost a week in jail over the theft of Sh73 million from the county treasury.
And this week, the EACC added to its growing list of corruption suspects Tharaka-Nithi Governor Muthomi Njuki, his Nairobi colleague Mike Sonko and the entire Nairobi County Assembly. Other governors faced with integrity questions include Busia’s Sospeter Ojaamong and Mwangi Wa Iria of Murang’a.
The Big Four Agenda aside, President Uhuru Kenyatta’s legacy depends on his government’s hits and misses in the war on corruption. Other endeavours, including the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) and the new-fangled quest for constitution amendment are important but Kenyans may only remember him as the president who won the war on the single-biggest scourge to ever plague in independent Kenya.
In 1963, Kenya’s economy was reportedly at par with those of the “Asian Tigers” South Korea and Singapore. Thanks to corruption, it’s now over 40 times smaller! In 2002, Sierra Leone emerged from an 11-year civil war whose causes, shows a 2004 commission report, included corruption.
When all men are swallowed up in the vortex of bourgeois and cupidity, society is denuded of its moral paragons, somebody must stand up and be counted.
In the First Century BC, the Roman lawyer and politician Marcus Tulius Cicero was both loathed and persecuted by the ruling class under Julius Caesar for his chutzpah — notably his pursuit of a legal case, for corruption, against then powerful governor of Sicily, Gaius Veres, who presumed on his cronies higher up the system’s hierarchy to insulate him from accountability yet remains the pin-up of moralists and anti-corruption czars.
President Kenyatta, as the general in the war on corruption, and his frontline soldiers, led by EACC’s Twalib Mubarak, DPP Noordin Haji and DCI George Kinoti, must inspire public belief in the ultimate triumph over the scourge. Only success in the form of legal convictions will inspire public confidence and support.
The Austrian philosopher Karl Krauss said: “Corruption is worse than prostitution; the latter destroys an individual’s morals, the former destroys a whole country’s morals.”
Mulang’o Baraza, historian and writer, Nairobi