Battle against graft should focus more on prevention than cure

Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission (EACC) offices in Nairobi. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]
Medieval Dutch Humanist Desiderius Erasmus once famously said: “Prevention is better than cure.”

In Kenya, there is a great disease that has affected almost all parts at all levels. That is the virus of corruption and its accompanying moral failings.

President Uhuru Kenyatta has identified corruption and fraud as some of the greatest threats to our nation, its progress and development.

He has set about trying to cure Kenya of this disease by ridding us of its manifestations, especially in Government and the civil service.

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He has ensured that the message is spreading that corruption will no longer be tolerated and the high-profile arrests and court cases are a testament to an attempt to amputate it from our upper political and economic echelons.

However, as Erasmus said hundreds of years ago about disease, trying to cure an ill in society without trying to take preventative measures means that it will continue to raise its ugly head.

That is why the President has ensured that with every opportunity he gets, he raises the issue of corruption and calls on citizens to join him in the battle. He has noted that almost everyone witnesses corruption - whether at school, in the medical sector or when applying for permits.

New values

This is why we need to instill a new way of doing things. We need a new set of values that set corruption and fraud apart as something damaging for society even if an individual thinks they can make some gains.

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The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) has announced plans to establish an anti-graft training institution to empower young Kenyans with integrity and other values to enable the elimination of corrupt tendencies in Kenyans.

Many are wondering what this means.

The EACC says establishment of the institution, to be christened Integrity Academy in Kenya, is in line with its mandate to prevent the vice of corruption besides eliminating it where it has taken root.

“The Commission is keen to establish an Integrity Academy in Kenya.

"This will be in line with its preventive mandate. A consultative discussion is currently ongoing with the International Anti-Corruption Academy in Austria (IACA), to help in realising the objective,” read part of the tweet by EACC.

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The IACA claims to be the first global institution of its kind dedicated to overcoming current shortcomings in knowledge and practice in the field of anti-corruption and seeking to empower professionals for the challenges of tomorrow.

Wide variety

The Academy will offer standardised and tailor-made trainings, academic degree programmes, opportunities for dialogue and networking, and anti-corruption think-tank and benchmarking activities. 

It provides a new, holistic approach to anti-corruption education and research, delivers and facilitates anti-corruption training for practitioners from all sectors of society, and provides technical support and assistance to a wide variety of stakeholders.

International co-operation, the sharing of knowledge and experiences, and mutual support are fundamental aspects of IACA’s mandate.

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If the Integrity Academy is able to replicate some of the successes and holistic approach to anti-corruption education and research, then it will be a major boost to the medium and long-term goals of the President’s efforts to rid us of corruption.

It could hopefully raise a new generation of young Kenyan professionals who would have a new approach towards corruption, largely at odds with the current or previous generations, that would permeate various levels of society.

This cadre of professionals would be better equipped to recognise and hopefully prevent corruption when they encounter it, and hopefully rise to levels where they can put what they learned into practice and influence those around them.

This will be like giving our society an anti-corruption vaccination to fight the rotten cells of graft and fraud in efforts to cleanse the body.

If successful, this could be a major game-changer in the fight against corruption.

While Uhuru is trying to cure Kenya of the immediate threat of corruption, he would also be ensuring that we are preparing a preventative antidote that would ensure a Kenyan future free of our society’s greatest ill.

Mr Maore is the Member of Parliament for Igembe North constituency

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