Integrity Centre
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Fakery slowly killing our nation

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Integrity Centre that hosts Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) offices in Nairobi.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

EACC has done it again. It has reminded us of the most corrupt ministries in its 2023 report. The Ministry of Interior came tops. That’s the home of corrupt immigration and police departments.

The second place went to the inhabitants of ‘Mafia’ House (sorry, Afya House) and the ministry in question is that of Health.

The latter had no money to pay doctors but enough of it to steal. Now we know where all the money has gone—that is, into the pockets of those in charge of the Ministry of Health.

In the list of most corrupt agencies, the department that piqued my interest is that of National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA). Officers in this department demand the highest bribe, which amounts to Sh81,801, according to the EACC report.

That is a lot of dosh. The only conclusion is that NTSA wheeler-dealers can only generate that sort of money from the lucrative general motor industry. Their core functions entail issuance of licences to drivers, vehicles body builders, motor vehicle registration, motor vehicle inspection and managing car dealer applications. This is just a snapshot of what they do in the motoring industry.

However, despite the huge bribe they command and their motto “To have an efficient, reliable and safe road transport in Kenya”, NTSA has been nothing but a catalyst for road carnage. I bet even those who pay the hefty bribes are not assured of safety on the roads. The increase in road traffic crashes in Kenya is an indication of the systemic failures within NTSA. They surely have blood on their hands.

However, what interests me in the workings of NTSA is the issuance of driving licences. With ownership of fake documents having been ‘legalised’ in the country, one wonders how many drivers on Kenyan roads are, in fact, driving using bona fide licences and having obtained those after rigorous training and testing. Road traffic accidents in Kenya are more often blamed on careless driving than any other cause. Although that is a possibility, the most dangerous driver on Kenyan roads is the untrained one with a fake driving licence.

Kenyans have adopted a lazy culture of obtaining just about everything using shortcuts. Forgetting that, when it comes to lives and livelihoods, sometimes the shortcut is the most dangerous route, which leads to injury and death. A good example is that of a driver with a fake licence leaving a trail of death on the roads and drug barons looking for quick riches at the expense of the vulnerable addicts.

Inner sanctum

EACC has been quite stoic in its pursuit of officials with fake academic certificates. Their focus has mainly been with low- to medium-level politicians and civil servants.

There have been allegations made against senior government officials with fake degrees—including the Cabinet Secretary for Health. However, for some peculiar reasons, EACC does not seem keen to reach that far into the inner sanctum of government to flush out MPs, governors and ministers who used fake degrees to obtain positions of power illegally.

If EACC is really serious about draining the swamp in the government of those unfit to serve due to their unquestionable education qualifications, then it is only fair to start purging from the top. Those who are at the helm of government should be people with integrity, and that starts with the status of their education qualifications.

Pursuing only junior officials with fake degrees is scratching the surface of a problem that is now deeply ingrained in Kenyan society. As long as the apex of government is built with people with fake documents, the rest of the government, and country, will operate on fakes.

A government system run by fakery is a system built on quicksand. Kenya is, therefore, sinking under the weight of fakery of just about everything. From fertiliser to degrees and driving licences. The fake Kenya has now also become a problem in faith communities with prosperity churches allegedly offering all types of miracles going far and beyond what even Jesus couldn’t do, all in the name of making quick bucks. The fake prophets are also behind the death of hundreds of Kenyans under the guise of flying them to their Maker after starving them.

Fakery is a short-term gain for lazy, corrupt and greedy people. Where does it actually leave the state of Kenya in the long run? The utopia being built on fake stuff in Kenya is slowly gaining traction as a country to be avoided. Being put on the grey list by the Financial Action Task Force for Money Laundering and Terrorism shows the tail-end of a collapsing state. Saving money for corrupt individuals and killing patients by starving doctors of income could only happen in a state run by fakes.

A state that says prayers for weapons of war and police going to Haiti but not the people caught up in civil bloodshed in Baringo must be fake Kenyans themselves. Yet again, who’s going to end fakery if not the likes of EACC and NTSA? Over to you, the duo with the mandate.

- Ms Guyo is a legal researcher. [email protected]. @kdiguyo