“There are honest politicians. But they haven’t won the elections yet” –Ljupka Cvetanova.
The news headlines have of late been cluttered with stories of which government official stole what from which ministry. The figures quoted in the scandals have been surprising, and frightening too.
From the maize scandals in Eldoret to the National Youth Service, a section of Kenyan leaders have once again proved to us what they do best- shamelessly draining public coffers knowing all too well that they will get away with it. The National Youth Service saga has been particularly fascinating, with the slaying Anne Ngarita having received a clean 59 million Kenya shillings for supplying nusquam nihilum to the NYS.
Another 9 billion shillings has been reportedly gone the looters. Let me break it down. 9 billion shillings, in a thousand shilling notes and placed end to end, is enough to cover the entire distance from Mombasa to Nairobi. If it is divided equally among all 40 million Kenyans, each person will go home with 225 shillings. But don’t forget that it is now money in an individual’s bank account.
A tough-talking president has been trying to bring the situation under control. During the Madaraka Day speech he rightly compared the menace to the colonial oppression, only that now it is no longer white man against black man, but black man against fellow black man, what Mwalimu Nyerere termed the man-eat-man society.
Several arrests have been made so far, and court cases opened. This, however, does not impress me in the least, because that’s a drama we have witnessed before. A political stunt to delude the masses that action is being taken against the culprits, when we know all too well that the “untouchables” will soon walk scot free. It reminds me of the Pig’s lament in George Cowell’s Animal Farm,” All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”
Despite all this, we the voters still embrace the ‘mtu wetu’ mentality every five years when the politicians come asking for our votes. As long as it is ‘mtu wetu’ eating our money, there is no problem. Not until we rise above this mediocre thinking, corruption and fund embezzlement will remain rooted in our government. And I believe that if we vote wisely, we shall one day have a new crop of visionary leaders who shall purge our public offices of this curse and set this country on the course to Economic independence.
There has been little hope from the Ethics and anti-corruption commission, the body that been tasked to ensure integrity in public service. However, the commission nor its members are not to blame, for in the face of insufficient legislations and political interference, it has been a toothless dog whose barking does not scare anyone.
In the words of Theodore Roosevelt, “When they call the roll in the senate, the senators do not know whether to answer ‘present’ or ‘Not Guilty’ ’”our elected leaders in the counties have also demonstrated the meaning of ‘devolved corruption’, as most county accounts have been milked dry. MCAs have been famed for planning numerous, cost inflated overseas “conferences” and county budgets have been thrown down the drain. While all the while wanjiku continues to watch the drama and cry ‘serikali saidia’.
Will the corruption beast ever be slain? Definitely, Yes. I am hopeful in the future of this country. Like Martin Luther, I have a dream. A dream that one day we will rise from this dark valley to the shining light of truth, integrity and love for our fellow countrymen. And that is the day all of Kenya’s children will sing with true meaning the magnificent words of our national anthem “Haki iwe ngao na mlinzi.”, because on that day, justice, truth and integrity will ring, from the mountaintops of Mt Kenya to the sprawling plains of Kano, from the Lake Basin of Kisumu to the Beaches at the coast.
That is the Kenya I await to see.