Is it not everywhere? Yes, we are talking of corruption, bribery or simply stealing from the forbidden cookie jar. Haven’t we heard cases of graft even in church? In our morgues? Our borders? State of affairs that is normal for the police force. A system that has characterised our politics and leaders. A culture that has darkened our ministries and government institution. A reality that has disparaged our value system and moral fabric. Turned our youths into disillusioned dream chasers. An ugly picture that turns back the gains we have made in this country. Corruption stinks!
We hereby pause a question; do we need a third liberation? And who will rescue Kenya? In this article we are going to highlight the level of corruption in different arms of government as we invite you to ponder with us as we seek a solution.
‘Justice Philip Tonoi’s bribery claim jolts judiciary’ Is the headlines you see plastered on the face of the newspapers. It is the current wave that has rocked our defenders of justice and what does it mean? What are the consequences? Perhaps to many it is just another scandal, a confirmation of what goes on in the dark brought out to light, but think about it for a minute. The Judiciary as provided for in the Constitution 2010 is not just an ordinary arm of the government; it is the link between the Executive and Parliament. It is the defender of justice and so by any standard it should not just be clean but seen to be clean. The people of Kenya ought to have faith in the judiciary but with such headlines can you blame them? A ride down memory lane educates us that when people lose faith in the court system the results are usually bloody. Moreover, Philosophy tells us that the S.I Unit of measuring the integrity of a judge is that of creaser’s wife, can we ascertain this of the good judge and what about the other six, what does the allegations of over 200 million bribe say about them?
It may not be clear to everyone but as far as good governance, the rule of law and integrity go, the judiciary should be the cornerstone of it all but what a shame that we here bribery claims from the highest court in the land. The people tasked with the responsibility of setting the standards, creating a judicial culture. They have indeed gone back on the work. They have spit on the reforms and the millions of tax payer’s money that have gone into cleaning of the judiciary. The Judiciary may not rescue Kenya; they may not help us secure our integrity. They may not have the answers we are seeking. We saw the governor of Nairobi County, Evans Kidero measure how bulky the alleged 202million is, speaking to the poor Kenyans who are not even sure of what they will eat after being convinced that ‘NONE’ can carry such amount. We remember vividly the utterances of the Kiambu governor William Kabogo; “…if they want to take us to court, let them do so. I am ready and I have money to defend myself…” so justice can be bought, it is attainable depending on the amount of money you have!
President Uhuru Kenyatta promised a corruption free Government. He swore to turn the tide and run a clean executive but could he be looking back at his words and cursing with frustrations? If this was not a political charade, he must be a very disappointed man. The Executive has had a lion’s share of graft cases .We have heard of the tender irregularities with the $3.5 billion- shillings standard gauge project, the Sinopec deal worth $ 15 million involving David Chirchir as a cabinet secretary Energy. We have read of irregularities inrenting of government land and taking 100 Acres for planting of potatoes by the cabinet Secretary for Agriculture. We saw inquiries involving the Cabinet Secretary of transport. In the trivial ministry of lands, the traditions continued; it was too choking until even the innocent children had to cough it out and vomit the ills vehemently. Kenyans still wait with eager whether the execution of the recommendation by the Ethics and Anti-corruption Commission (EACC) that Charity Ngilu and eight other Ministry of Lands officials should be charged with various criminal offences for allegedly benefitting from the double allocation of the 134-acre land parcel in Karen valued at Sh8 billion. Ngilu is nolonger the CS for lands and none is aware of what is happening at the cookie jar.
The labour ministry also had a case to answer, causing the president to change his lieutenants but in spite of these, the determined vice of corruption is still with us.we still have to grapple with the apparent loss of Sh791 million at the National Youth Service (NYS) and now the Sh289 billion ($2.75 billion) Eurobond Scandals that up to date none of the poor Kenyan is aware of what transpired except for the cartels who give story depending on their political allies, ooh poor Kenyans who will be responsible enough to save us from these conglomerate of confusion? Yet we should clarify that these are just the big ice bergs that rare their ugly heads. There is still so much we don’t know. For sure the executive has failed with regard to corruption, and the answers we seek have no doubt eluded them.
Parliament has also proved to have their demons when it comes to corruption. Claiming parliamentary privileges powers and institutional privileges they collectively rejected a probe by the anti -corruption agency, not to mention the names of the individual members of both the national assembly and the Senate here but the list of shame was clearly made bare. In fact, every Member of Parliament is said to have put his/her hands into the cookie jar either before or after being the Member of Parliament.
What about the county governments? The reasoning behind devolution was to promote accountability and accessibility to the people. The constitution of Kenya 2010 reiterates this stating inter alia that the objectives of devolution include accountable exercise of power, enhance economic development and promote checks and balances. Objectives which are lost the moment we open the cookie jar. How is the state of affairs in the counties? The critics say it is devolution of corruption other than resources .Is it true? We have heard of reports stating irregularities of tenders in Nairobi County, Samuel Tunai being investigated for irregular issuance of tenders, Issac Rutto being questioned on irregular tender processes in Bomet County. There are further reports implicating Cyprian Awiti 200 million pay off of investors in the Agro city project in Homa Bay County. Amason Kingi on the other hand, is investigated for 400 million tender irregularities. The most amazing cases however were the wheelbarrow case in Bungoma where 10 wheelbarrows were procured for a total cost of Ksh.1.09million by the county government and the Kirinyaga County Governor, Joseph Kirunyu Ndathi, who was alleged to have paid a ‘contractor’ Ksh2million to open a Face book page for his county. No need to mention many other projects in the various counties that have gone down the drain. Please also remember that a lot of tax payers money has been used to fund trips for the MCA’s that do not necessarily change the pathetic economic state of most of the counties. No wonder some senators have shown interest in governorship come 2017 general elections!
Does the civil society have a role? Questions linger over the strength of the civil society. It is a big shame that these institutions that played a big role are today descending voices. It is very painful that the civil society is a breeding place for people with political ambition and an eye for public office. We therefore need them to awake from slumber and not merely be seen but they need to be heard and to enforce accountability and integrity.
The other avenue we could look at is institutionalizing government. Creating independent offices that enforce the rule of law and order. Looks good however, we have also heard the office of the DPP accused of irregular tendering process. Who is to investigate and prosecute this? Indeed we are in an eclipse, the Shepard seems has turned against the sheep. Meanwhile, we are shackled with anti-corruption commission that is only but an ideological institution operating on the whimps of politicians.
Where will the solution to corruption come from? Where will get the light to illuminate this eclipse? Should we eliminate these fiend ‘angels’ but how? Can we have a chance with a citizen’s revolution?
“Power does not corrupt people, people corrupt power” Anonymous
Nandia Paul, Communication, RCKM.
Ouma Kizito Ajuang’, Lawyer, LAED.
Kituo Cha Sheria