From corruption to lobbying, we can do it
SEE ALSO :Leaders not keen on fighting corruptionSome years back, only those with a lot of money could think of bribing MPs. Now, MPs have made it a mass market business by accepting as little as Sh10,000; soon it will be cheaper than that. Among the implications of this is that the poor can also afford lifestyle diseases willingly or unwillingly but without the means to treat them. Some years ago, only the rich could afford processed foods and as such, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and other lifestyle diseases were confined to the rich. However, now even the poor can afford them. The effect is growth in revenues for the health sector. For many years there were only a few hospitals in Kenya: Kenyatta National Hospital (1901), Nairobi Hospital (1952) and Aga Khan Hospital (1958). But now as poor lifestyles become more affordable, so many hospitals have been built. However, there is not yet good healthcare for citizens despite paying taxes for this. This is because corruption has become a mass-market product. To arrest the situation, something drastic needs to be done. Methinks the introduction of lobbying in Kenyan society would contribute towards solving this problem.
SEE ALSO :Parties want new governance orderThe fear, therefore, has been: if corruption is eliminated, how do we get things done? My opinion is that we can introduce lobbying to replace corruption. Done right, lobbying influences decision-making with transparency and integrity. Lobbying brings together other stakeholders, thereby reducing the power of a sole player. For instance, if Parliament is the only entity with power, legitimacy and urgency in passing a Bill, motion, legislation or any decision, anyone with interest in any of these will be tempted to pay money to the MPs to twist the outcome for their benefit. However, through lobbying, other stakeholders can be introduced in such a way that they discover they don't have the ultimate decision-making powers hence must be able to use facts to justify their decision. Social change This is because to effect social change, any lobbyist's case must be presented with skill, knowledge and confidence. Lobbyists must be able to assess their political resources, set an agenda for action, understand who to lobby and how to gauge their power, motivation and ability to effect or impede social change as well as gather and use evidence to support their position. This is a better option than corruption. America has gone this route and made many strides. In this regard, I urge every Kenyan not to resign to fate due to corruption, but to adopt lobbying mechanisms for social change. If we don’t do it, then corruption will become a mass-market product in the near future. And the future is now. Dr Ogola is the director of the Institute of Strategy and Competitiveness, Strathmore Business School
Register to advertise your products & services on our classifieds website Digger.co.ke and enjoy one month subscription free of charge and 3 free ads on the Standard newspaper.