“Corruption”, and “Lobbying”, are birds of a feather because if you analyze their close similarities, you will come to a conclusion to the effect that the latter, is just high level sophisticated legalized deceitful extortion that is perfected in America.
Though I wanted to dwell scantly on corruption scourge in Kenya, let me be a bit irrelevant for a reason, and briefly take a look at something similar to corruption, but somehow accepted and done in a more noble professional, legalized manner.
All the same, I will not be in style singing, “The redemption of the sinners”, song for I will be talking of the same thing, but in a more glorified manner.
In America, Lobbying is described as “paid activity in which “special interests” hire well-connected professional advocates, often lawyers, to argue for specific legislation in order to influence decision-making bodies such as the United States Congress”.
If you look at lobbying more closely, it is no different from a legalized bribe machination scheme, but lingo jargon(sic) words, are used to make it appear as a legitimate business.
The same, is done by subjecting it to complex rules which, if not followed, can lead to penalties including jail term and therefore, it is constitutionally protected.
The number of lobbyists groups in Washington DC alone, are estimated to be over twelve thousand. The majority of them handle billions of dollars especially during campaign periods.
Lobbying rules, require extensive disclosure, and a lot of controls as to how much capital each candidate can raise and spend during the campaign period.
The current pattern in America, suggests that much lobbying is done primarily by corporations, although a wide variety of coalitions representing diverse groups, also occurs.
Lobbying takes place at every level of government, including federal, state, county, municipal, and even local governments.
If a huge manufacturing firm intends to invest in America, and the venture contravenes existing legislation restrictions, it must use the lobbyist to influence and convince the Congress, the need for such a venture. Thereafter, a lot of dollars will in effect be exchanged to pass certain legislation.(legal bribe)
As long as the firm investing uses lobbyist, it becomes official in a way and with that scenario in mind, we now shift to Africa, where investors do not go through lobbyist. The same don’t exist but instead, the investors will use well connected and influential (in most cases high handedness) individuals in the Government to facilitate the venture.
Obama may also have seen lobbyist and special interest parties as corrupt, or bribe masters when he had vowed to wipe them out from Washington DC, but little did he know that he had touched a monster nerve. To prove how powerful they are, he never pursued the matter further, and the same may have been shelved and forgotten, the moment he stepped his feet at the white house.
That is the only way corruption can be traced in America, and the same does not affect the common man as the word bribe, in all other forms, does not occur as direct and as frequent as it is in developing or underdeveloped countries.
If money is exchanged for some favor to be done to an individual in America, without involving a lobbyist, it is simply a bribe, and the same, is taken very serious for it will definitely lead to convictions and without fail, lengthy jail term.
In Kenya, things are done different as in most cases, corrupt people happen to be senior government officials assisted by poor people (who gets just little benefits) and thus making it extremely hard to completely wipe out corruption in Kenya.
It then becomes like a lifestyle or a way of life that is passed on from one generation to the next, as the majority of the rich people in Kenya, also got their wealth mostly through corruption.
Let us start from the basics to define the word bribe.
A simple definition of a “bribe” is when money is exchanged to facilitate or to prevent something that do not necessarily require monetary exchange for the same to happen.
A good example is when you apply for a passport or an ID and pay the official the exact amount required and then you realize that the same may take a longer time to be processed. You go ahead and then decide to pay the worker some extra money to speed up the process and by doing so, the act in itself is bribing directly.
The person receiving the bribe, is corrupt because in the first place, he or she, is not supposed to receive any monetary consideration for a service they are paid to perform by the Government.
Then if lobbying is done in America, then the question is ,….can Kenya legalize individuals to get kickbacks in order to facilitate new investment ventures in the country?
In my opinion, the answer is NO as the Government can use legally established big consulting firms or corporations to negotiate on their behalf.
If individuals in those corporations and consulting firms, take kickbacks as is the trend now, then the government should outright convict the culprits and punish them as per the law.
Kick back is just evil for the same is eventually added to the loan and hence passed on to tax payers to continue being enslaved forever by huge loans.
If you take an example of the dams saga, billions of money were lost through self lobbyist who had made the contract to contain hidden clauses to justify the stealing. The initial mobilization fees given to contractors, is where corruption begins. If it’s pegged to the construction cost, they can inflate the contract through variation orders due to some unforeseen circumstances, and the more the variations, the more the mobilization fees.
Then after the same is paid to both parties, meaning the corrupt people and the contractors, the latter are likely to default after they calculate their final profit and what they can get out of the inflated mobilization. The obvious will be to abandon the project, and give flimsy reason to renegotiate the whole tender.
That is the case in all Government project for there is not a single project that does not end without variation orders and all are to make extra illegal money on non existing costs.
Corruption did not surface during Uhuru’s Presidential term as the evil almost started the moment the Union Jack flag was lowered down when all in a way said, “Kenyatta has killed a big elephant and there is enough for everyone to eat”.
And just like said, the eating commenced the moment individuals started allocating themselves vast Government trust lands and thereafter, scandals one after another though not to large proportions like today, were set in motion.
During President Moi’s era, mostly read as error (sic), a lot of mega scandals also took place and the biggest of them all, was the Goldenberg scandal that was so well devised that, it took the government a long time to discover the rot taking place.
“The Goldenberg scandal was a political scandal where the Kenyan government, was found to have subsidized exports of gold far beyond standard arrangements during the 1990’s, by paying the company Goldenberg International 35% more (in Kenyan shillings) than their foreign currency earnings”.
The whistle blower a Mr. David Sandera Munyakei blow the lid after disclosing the irregularities to two MPS but he had no idea that it was a suicidal act, for he was arrested and charged under the official secret act. The same led to the death of his mother due to stroke which she got a few weeks after the son was arrested. He was also not lucky for he was sacked only to die 3 years later.(abject misery story of poverty and neglect no one can envy). He was not aware that he was dealing with ruthless people and his act of saving Kenya huge sums money through theft, was not seen as helping which makes others to go silent while using “see no evil hear no evil” as a survival tactic in Government.
Surprisingly, the scandal was carried out by sharp and bright individuals and unlike nowadays when you hear of insignificant semi-elite people getting rich overnight, and thereafter, hurriedly investing back in their villages. The Goldenberg Mastermind were different for they used the ill gotten proceeds, to put up real estate capital investments.
It was the years that Uhuru highway developments surfaced and skyscrapers one after the other, were constructed as if in a hurry. They somehow defied the paradox of our time of people that possesses plenty of money, but little brains to make good use of it.
They somehow did a lot to justify that if corruption is done by upright thinking people assisted by crooks in the Government, it can bring about developments way much faster that the Government itself. It may appear appropriate but the same, make institutions meant to sustain the Kenyan economy, to go bankrupt and the right projects, that are in line with the development plans shelved.
Government vital developments are shelved for after misappropriating the funds meant for infrastructure, the corrupt individuals will not construct a bridge, a hospital or a road but rather, individual mansions, white elephants projects located in strange localities that are not even accessible during bad weather.
Corrupt individuals mostly target government land meant for institutions, forests or recreations and all they think about, is putting up a residential complex, or a hotel, to only later realize that the sewer connection, electricity, and safe drinking water, are not within reach.
This happens when the Government appoints weak and corrupt people to head institutions meant to carry out developments that directly benefits the common man. The same have a background of abject poverty, and all they want, is to prove their worthiness within the shortest time possible.
The government, or rather the top people, eventually become part and parcel of the corrupt dealings in order to get rich in a hurry.
Thereafter, driven by greed, predominance, bribery, Government patronage, impunity and high handedness, they start enjoying corruption and eventually begin to make it appear (a la mode) (sic) as if it is a way of life.
The saddest part begins when the same individuals, are not lucky as they thought for the stealing culture, is further passed on to immediate family members.
Yes it will be extended to their families and whoever said that we are masters of our own fate, had corruption in mind, because it can lead to many evil things associated with it like broken marriages, crime, suicide, deceases, moral degradation, and many other ills that can really affect many people’s lifestyle.
After the corrupt deals are done by those that are entrusted to lead the youth with examples, they entirely forget that they too have children who will eventually copy them.
They will later realize that while they were busy stealing, they never had enough quality time with their children and to compensate the same is not easy.
They will then try to make them happy but in the process, they do the greatest mistake by giving them lots of money without realizing that, they are leading them to an early death.
Here we are not talking of bed time folklore giant stories, but we are talking of something more substantial,…. the love of being together with the family so that you can guide them on how to be role models of society.
The love of keeping the family intact, so that family members are self reliant and responsible in life to easily be in control to take over, when the old man’s time to leave this world finally comes. (They hide their wealth and don’t involve their children in the project they undertake and after they suddenly die, their children are confused and will not know where to begin and how to wisely utilize the remaining ill gotten money).
The corrupt people don’t do that and to compensate for the love lost and failed fatherly love and guidance, they start giving their children lots of money to enjoy in nightclubs without knowing that the same is a recipe to disaster.
After their father is no more, the nouveau riche parvenu suddenly super league drunken and drug-taking roast meat and beer lover products, start roaming the country with shinny expensive automobiles accompanied by slay queens while looking for happiness they will never find.
After a few years due to excessive money, they end up with no clear directions or purpose in life and thereafter, calamity after calamity start striking.
Coupled with depression, lack of insight, failed ambitions and somehow static in thinking, they will soon give up pursuing their dreams and aspiration (if they had any) and only to end up as useless psychotic beings that need rehabilitation.
The poor envying the rich not aware that they are admiring the people that misappropriated the money that was meant to uplift their standards of living, and the country at large, is an ironical resentment sad story to witness.
The super league, the petty bourgeoisies, and the proletariats, intermingling in the same country and even shaking hands in funerals, weddings and churches, is an insult in itself.
The insults do not end there, for they will later meet in rare occasions during campaign period and the majority one day fed zealots, happily voting for the same people back to power, is a tale of hopelessness and total despair.
George Orwell may have envisaged a similar scenario like in Kenya, when he was writing his book “The animal farm” as some animals are definitely more superior than others.
Yes the poor are only used by the same corrupt people during campaigns by merely buying them a meal meant for only giving them just enough energy to echo meaningless tialala(sic) slogans but little else.
The poor, will then always vote back the very same people that will continue oppressing them and in a way, further endorsing corruption.
The rich will thereafter, forget their many promises as usual and embark on their evil lifestyle of stealing, the minute they get appointed to start heading those Government corporations.
The happiness the rich people enjoys however, is short lived for after stealing the funds that were meant for maintaining the roads that they too often use on a daily basis, they certainly become victims of nauseating horrific tragic road accidents on the same roads.
The wicked, (without even mentioning their very own) will eventually die too soon in horrible flick inglorious accidents while accompanied by beautiful slay queens(sic) and sadly perish earlier than expected.
Yes they will eventually be turned into matter itself or if lucky, end up as cripples and never again to have any other chance of realizing the essence of the earlier imagined good life.
Here were are not saying that poor people don’t die, for they too sadly become part of the designed death triangle puzzle due to the prevailing conditions. All is brought about by corruption and many will perish on same roads full of potholes simply because the funds meant for such development were misappropriated.
Yes the evils of death by design will affect all in the country as many will become victims of the death triangle puzzle which is a product of corruption.
A worse scenario still, is to imagine that many will become victims of criminals who are as a result of society moral disintegration.
After doing heinous crimes against humanity, criminals will easily get away with any of them (murder included) by simply bribing the corrupt judges.
Many however are dying, or will die or died while clutching their wallets not willing to bulge to their demands making life at times appear confusing as evil people in a way live longer than the righteous.
While still others, dying due to poorly designed collapsing buildings constructed in a hurry and the same, owned by filthy rich people with no upright moral sense… and in most cases, funds used to construct the said death dens, are from corrupt deals.
The poor many, many, years later using the remains of the victims (fossils ) by then converted to diesel form as they struggle to get to work in congested public transport, is a sick irony and a clear indication of how useless the end becomes.
That is something the rich cannot conceptualize as they oppress and steal money meant to improve the standard of living of the poor for if they did, their much pride would cease and not even steal from those institutions.
The few mean rich without any moral sense, briefly enjoy their ill-gotten riches and the end, does not justify their eventual natural death at times for they ought to have deserved a more harsher early death.
The rich get involved in accidents and are ironically rescued by the less fortunate poor in society but this time taking advantage of their desperate situations.
The poor will at that time steal from the injured the very money that was stolen from them, which in itself is an indication of revenge and sheer hopelessness.
Many are now saying that death can occur to anyone but most of the deaths other than natural ones, happen on the roads and not forgetting collapsing buildings that are as a result of corruption when influential owners bribe their way to avoid approvals and inspections.
If the money meant for improvement of the roads, is not misappropriated, we can reduce death on roads by ensuring that high standards are achieved and the same thing also applies to public buildings.
The judges trying the culprits, should not be lenient and the fines imposed, should not be paid by the same corruption money. They should be made to sell their properties to bail themselves out and not the stolen loot in banks.
The judiciary has to help in the fight against corruption by giving tough maximum prison terms but not fines that are easily paid within a few hours using the same corruption money they are accused of. Its a mockery of justice to witness individuals easily getting away with crimes against humanity and stealing from public coffers are examples of such.
The government should therefore, ruthlessly deal with corrupt individuals in order to stop the rot, that has to spread to the common man who believe that the only way to advance in life, is through stealing.
We should all the same, not give up on the war against corruption, as it is an evil that needs a combined effort.
The fight AGAINST corruption is for our own good as the civilized world may be rejoicing when there is genocide. The aftermath of war, are the end results that they may be after, to add to the potential of fossils, that will guarantee their continued future source of the much needed gas and diesel.
By any means necessary, do not make Kenya the destination of official corruption and the only way to go about it, is to be strict on wrong doers by giving them long jail terms and not fines.
President Uhuru has indicated his seriousness in wiping out the menace once and for all and if the politician can heed to his call of helping to stop the menace, then we can have a nation full of trust to complete the agendas in their manifesto.
Who knows? … he may be having some special abilities or heeding Gods calling to convince the many corrupt people to believe in themselves, to earnestly tie that believe and credence to the ideals that do not destroy, but rather shape the destiny of mankind.
They all must not simply assume or imagine, but to have sincere determination and together united, we can fight the monstrous corruption.
In those rare instances when such an astute no nonsense, able leader comes along and more so willing to lead by example, we need to put aside our political differences and ambitions to do what we know is POSSIBLE.
Yes we all must wake up and stop the menace or else, we are shaping and designing our premature tragic end which is avoidable.
We fail because we do not try.
Arch Dr. Isaac Kinungi
Diaspora National Assembly For 254