How Wanjiku helps corruption to thrive

An audit by citizens is the only way to make our country graft free. [Standard]

After budgeting and revenue allocation, Parliament’s next natural task would be to audit the expenditure of the two levels of government.

It would only make sense that audit reports are taken with the same gravitas as the budget reading process. In fact, the pomp and glamour that the Treasury CS receives when reading the budget should be afforded to the Auditor General when the audits are done.

Why else would the framers of our Constitution insist that the audit has fixed timelines?

However, Parliament has no regard for audits and nothing usually comes out of our legislators after the media headlines. In fact the reaction from Parliament is quite contrarian, with many calling for the firing of the Auditor General for the high crime of doing his job.

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As far as audits are concerned, the office of the Auditor General seems to be playing great music for the goat that is Parliament.

But the bite is deeper, for the public is as lackadaisical about the audits as Parliament. To us, it is a passing headline holding no consequence. It affects nothing in our voting patterns and our support for our politicians is unswayed by an audit of their activities.

Embezzling funds

As I have said before, the chairmen of our village chamaas are required to have higher moral and accountability standards than a CS or governor. For which chama has a sitting chairman or treasurer who the members know is suspected of embezzling funds? I wager there is none unless the chama itself is a gang of thieves, and even then the thief so chosen to lead would still be the ‘lesser evil’ of them all.

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But this is not the case for our republic, for no matter the audit report on any institution and its officials there is no public outcry for accountability or a change of guard.

In fact, Kenyans are torn between whining that their leaders have done nothing for four years before an election and praising and singing tibim and wembe songs for the same leaders.

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Both citizens and politicians have failed to realise that this nation should begin to vote based on audits of leadership and not to the tunes of tibim and wembe or indeed to the call of mtu wetu.

For if we were audit minded, there would hardly be a politician today who would be shouting useless things about Arror and Kimwarer. For the audit would show that out of billions of shillings already spent, there is nothing to show for it.

The audit would show what politicians don’t want us to see: That the dams can’t be completed by a company that received billions and still filed for bankruptcy. The audit would also show that when politicians steal, the proceeds don’t go to the tribe from which they come.

Those defending such politicians from prosecution should realise that their person is living in heaven while they clap and defend him from the hell s/he has made for them.

Corrupt politicians hate audits and they do not want these reports to ever see the light of day. Thus it was no surprise that no single politician attended the launch of a citizen audit framework launched by the Auditor General.

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The opportunity for citizens to participate in audits does not only create better audit results but also informs the public more. The fear of such an initiative is natural to any thief.

If Kenyans know where their money goes, and each can count the miles of road, the number of stalls in a market or the number of conference attendees, corruption would grind to a screeching halt.

Why? Because no one would be able to forge a conference. Some hotel staff would log into the Auditor General’s website, report that no such conference happened and that would be the end of an illustrious ghost conference career.

The benefits for Wanjiku are clear, but as usual Wanjiku will be stupefied by the dances of the wicked. Like sirens in the seas of old, our politicians sing and dance us into a cursed stupour, and once we are in their clutches they drown us in a sea of greed and corruption. Wanjiku’s slumber is what fuels the greedy dreams of her leaders.

Every corrupt person is excited when Wanjiku does not know what should be done. If you asked Wanjiku what roads, schools, hospitals are to be built in her ward this financial year, she has no idea.

Campaign time

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If you ask her how much money the elderly are supposed receive every month, she has no idea. If you ask her how many counties are in phase two of the universal healthcare plan, she has even less of an idea.

What is sad is that this is true for the educated and uneducated Wanjiku. As such, she has no basis on which to vote other than the beauty of the song and dance come campaign time.

The time has come when we all must awake and realise that audits should be the basis upon which we vote. If your county government has glaring audit queries, why would you give your governor a second term unless you are bewitched?

It is also true that President Kenyatta’s fight against corruption can be audited, as can his legacy. For indeed we can count whether there is more accountability in government and we can also count how much of the Big Four agenda has been achieved.

An audit by citizens is the only way we can make our country corruption free and the only way Wanjiku can vote, for once, with her head and not her tribe.

Mr Bichachi is a communication consultant. [email protected]

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Auditor GeneralTreasury CS