By George Biruri
Every 9th of December, the world marks international anti-corruption day. Today, the Attorney General Justin Muturi instead of recommending sound strategies to tackle the vice, joked that Kenyans should sing an “anti-corruption anthem.”
Corruption accelerated after independence. In fact it was one of the causes of the split between the nation’s founders. The leaders who had inherited a few acres from their parents suddenly became owners of large tracts of land. The government departments and the parastatals became conduits of corruption for the leaders and their allies.
The succeeding regimes continued to encourage corruption and only paid lip service to fighting corruption.
Prof Kibutha Kibwana studied corruption and published several books, including “The Anatomy of Corruption” and ” The Control of Corruption.” The NGO called Africog has several publications on corruption scandals. Transparency International, Kenya Human Rights Commission, and other NGOs also have some publications on corruption.
The government has been halfheartedly been fighting corruption. All the units they have used have failed to slay the dragon of corruption.The police were first mandated to deal with corruption. Then the Police Administration established a special unit- The Anti Corruption Unit. The Government then established Kenya Anti-corruption Authority ( KACA). The later metamorphosed to Kenya Anti-corruption Commission. The Constitution established the Ethics and Anti corruption Commission as a constitutional commission. At one time, President Uhuru shocked us when he asked agencies charged with fighting corruption: ” what do you want me to do?”
Recently, we saw the impunity drama of the Uda regime unfold before our eyes. The favoured corruption suspects cases were discontinued by a supposedly independent Director of Public Prosecution. Then the ” udawashed suspects” appointed to senior positions. Some were appointed to head the same institution that had taken them to court!
The politicians and the rich who are fingered on cases of corruption always have the refrain :” I am being politically targeted!’ as defence. We were recently told by the new welders of power that Kenya has an established tradition where those who have stolen are not followed, but are let to enjoy the spoils in their retirement!
The celebrated former Anti-corruption Czar John Githongo exposed some corruption within government. He run into exile and his narration was developed into a book by Michaela Wrong titled: ” It’s Our Turn to Eat!”
The extent of corruption is so deep. The official publications in both government and outside government sat that at least , thirty percentage of the Government budget is lost through corruption! Imagine losing one trillion shillings to corruption! Surprising new phrases such as ” budgeted corruption” have been coined in Kenya.
The negative impact of corruption is deaths, injuries, underdevelopment, poverty, denial of opportunities, increased costs, deviation of resources from essential projects and essential services, lack of services, poor service delivery, poor record index among others.
The image of Kenya as a corruption-riden country is well known internationally. Pope Francis, President Barack Obama and President Magufuli pointed it out during their visits to our country!
The government, the institutions and the people should deal ruthlessly with the menace of corruption. Only then shall Kenya leap forward to modern development and quality service delivery.
The writer is an enthusiastic political analyst from Kenya