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Fighting Corruption: The Kenyan Way

I’m among millions of Kenyans who believe corruption is the single most threat to Kenya’s future. According to EACC report, over 65% of Kenyans have to part with a bribe to enjoy public/government services. It is that bad and the need to fight corruption has ever been this urgent.

See Also: How Singapore Won The War Against Graft

How we fight corruption

The war against corruption follows a predictable path that borders on ludicrous. It is not by accident that over 50 years after independence the war on graft has systematically failed. It is by design. In fact, you can tell the outcome of a graft case even before it goes to court

Fighting Corruption: The Kenyan Way
A typical newspaper headline.

Here is a brief summary of how we’ve fought graft for decades

  1. A few people, mostly senior public officials and senior directors from private firms, sit and decide which project to loot. After finalizing the details of who gets what when and where…it is time to steal as much as they can from our already scarce resources.
  2. Due to demonic greed, one or two of the looters decide to change the deal midway. Something like giving someone 10 million when the initial agreement was 20million. Whatever the ‘betrayal,’ the disgruntled thief calls a corrupt journalist.
  3. Once the corrupt journalist has the “shocking evidence of looting in this or that department” from a source who “requested anonymity”, he/she proceeds to ‘greet’ the news editors.
  4. For the story to attract enough public anger, the ‘greeted’ editors add as many zeros to the figure as they can. Graft involving 100 million becomes 100 billion.
  5. The media plasters screaming headlines everywhere…Anything exaggerated can do at this stage “The Country In Deep Shock As 40bn Disappears From The Ministry Of Health” or “A Relative Of DP Churchmate Steals 10bn”. The intention is to share the least info while whipping emotions.
  6. Then follows a loud public outcry, one that you can hear from space. We demand that the president acts immediately. Phrases like “I’m ashamed to be part of this corrupt” from people who bribed their way into jobs rend the air. We bay for the blood of those mentioned in the ‘scandal’…
  7. The President yields to public pressure and demands action from the DCI and the DPP. At this stage, it is all systems go. The DCI shares their findings with the media to give fuel to the narrative. In fact, Social Media Anti-graft squad and blogger pick up the matter, and within no minutes they have the details about the lost billions, who is involved and how it all has to do one politician.
  8. Politics kicks in; with politicians and TV analysts combing through the scandal. And just like that, sides emerge (each trying to outdo each other). The journalist/newspaper that broke the news at this stage shares shocking revelations e.g. how the suspect paid 100million for a 1 bar soap. It is a busy week and everything from the newspaper is the gospel truth.
  9. Then comes the D-day, DCI sends evidence to the DPP for prosecution. At the court, a 40bn scandal shrinks to “the four have been charged with defrauding the state 300million”. Despite the DPP demand that the suspects do not make bail so that they don’t “interfere with the on-going investigation,” the suspects make bail.
  10. The Social media anti-graft team tears the judiciary apart for being the stumbling block in the war against graft. In the meantime, some of the suspects get new appointments or elected by Kenyans. The disgruntled thief (who started all these) finds new partners and plan the next loot only that this time he/she is the one who’s shortchanged other. As expected, the shortchanged thieves blow the whistle creating a new scandal. We forget the other scandals and the cycle begins.

The war on graft in Kenya is a vicious cycle. A very costly one while at it. And until such a time we stopped ethnicizing, politicizing and trivializing the war against corruption, hoping to succeed is akin to expecting milk from a broiler.

See Also: How we should fight corruption

Lest you forget, we paid an anglo leasing firm 1.4bn so that we could get Eurobond. None other than the president promised to recover the money within the shortest time possible. That was 2014, five years later you hear nothing about anglo leasing.

Let me leave it at that…have your say via the comment box