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By forgiving corruption, we are setting ourselves up for failure

By The Standard | Published Sat, February 24th 2018 at 00:00, Updated February 23rd 2018 at 23:14 GMT +3

The caution by Bretton Woods Institutions that Kenya’s debt burden is hurtling towards untenable levels is no good news to the taxpayer.

In the wake of the new Sh202 billion Eurobond loan, questions have emerged over government spending, which critics see as over-ambitious. But the National Treasury is certain the debt will pay off.

Ideally, taxpayers worry isn’t much about what President Kenyatta’s government plans to do with the Eurobond money, but the dent that official corruption has been leaving on the public purse every year.

It has not been lost to ordinary Kenyans that their money, in millions and perhaps billions, are lining pockets of individuals who use their influence to defeat the system. That corruption is a painful ritual in our country can’t be overemphasized. Under the Jubilee government, the war on corruption has been enthusiastic. But because the vice is deeply rooted, success has been more elusive.

This year, Kenya ranked 143 out of 180 in the world corruption index. This is a marginal improvement because in 2017, Kenya was position 145 out of 180 countries. More needs to be done. Every Kenyan has a responsibility to fight graft.

However, without the political will, all anti-graft efforts will get lost in the political din. Kenyans will recall the political heat that resulted from a list of corruption suspects President Kenyatta tabled in Parliament in 2015. Corruption networks fought back, and it became fodder for unhealthy exchanges. President Kenyatta should be resolute in the crusade against graft. Kenyans can’t wait to see the day graft lords will be hauled to court in broad day light. No one should be allowed to enjoy proceeds of graft without painfully paying for it.

The Ethics and Anti-corruption Commission and Parliament must fight for their space. And, they have to shed off the perception that they exist and work at the behest of shadowy forces. The Jubilee administration should not be seen to be shying away from tough retributive measures against graft. By condoning it, we are setting ourselves up for failure.

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