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What we, the youth can do to put a stop to culture of corruption

By Ben Mokamba | Published Fri, June 15th 2018 at 00:00, Updated June 14th 2018 at 19:06 GMT +3

There's an unwritten rule to being young, that the first thing you must do every morning when you come alive is to check your phone. This shows how our phones have become an inextricable component of our youthful lives.

We connect with people across the world through these phones, scan for opportunities that will thrust us forward through these phones and also receive news headlines through these phones. In recent days however, the news headlines that we see on our phones or on the dailies are of corruption scandals unearthed.

This is in itself not a bad thing, but picture waking up to news that a couple of billion shillings have disappeared into thin air, billions which you, as a young person, was expecting to be put into projects which would provide opportunities for your personal and career growth. Your morning would be ruined, wouldn't it?

General skepticism

This is further compounded by the general skepticism silently expressed by many Kenyans about the war on corruption. I often eavesdrop on the conversations of Kenyans whenever I can, in a bid to understand the Kenyan perspective on matters corruption, and it makes me angry that many are still skeptical about the war on corruption, even with the renewed his commitment to purge it as enunciated by President Uhuru Kenyatta.

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One would argue that we cannot help being skeptical, but the big question is, can we afford it? What is the cost of cynicism, especially when the future of the youth is pegged on whether the war on corruption will be successful or not?

Do we fully understand the implications of throwing our hands up in despair, when we know deep down that every shilling lost to corruption denies a Kenyan youth the opportunity to rise above the poverty line?

What happens to this youth, who is denied an opportunity to pursue his dream of a better life by a selfish individual who out of sheer greed, decided to engage in acts of corruption?

Will we have the moral authority then, to stand up and proudly call ourselves role models for the generations that are coming after us, when whenever we had the opportunity to secure their future by fighting corruption we threw our hands in the air and said it was a lost war?

We should therefore, unite against this common enemy that we call corruption. For the sake of the youth. Because we, the youth, are on the front line to feel the effects of corruption. For this reason, we have tremendous expectations on how the cases that have come to the surface are handled. Case in point being the National Youth Service saga.

We expect convictions, if it is proven beyond reasonable doubt that indeed the suspects engaged in acts of corruption. Nothing less. That way, we will teach the youth that there is still hope, that their future will simply not be grabbed from their hands by individuals who care less about the coming generations. The ball lies squarely in the court of the courts, to decisively ensure that justice is served.

Youth capture

If this does not happen, then the youth will internalise the subtle message that corruption is not an inexcusable sin, and that the surest way to a better life isn't through hard work, persistence and patience, but through fraud, embezzlement and other economic crimes.

Once internalised, it will be an uphill task to try and change this narrative, and this will come at the expense of our progress as a nation. This is why corruption is inexcusable. It is threatening to erode the values we stand for as a nation. We, the youth, therefore, see corruption as an impediment to our future, and we expect every person, every institution mandated by our Constitution to be custodians of this future to step up to the task.

Subsequently, the proceeds of corruption should be recovered and utilized to fund the Big Four agenda. From the rest of Kenyans, we expect a sense of renewed faith in this war in place of skepticism. We can show this by replicating messages of hope in all our conversations, and also by providing the necessary information to the bodies mandated with investigating such matters. Further to this, let us hold ourselves accountable, and ask ourselves where the rain started beating us, and what we have been doing to perpetuate corruption in our country.

Together, let us shun the narrative that corruption is too big for us to handle, and work towards building the corruption free nation that we all aspire to be proudly part of, and let us remember that for nothing is beyond our capability if we put our minds and resources to it.

Mr Mokamba is Communication Consultant in Nairobi  

The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Standardmedia.co.ke


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