State should declare graft a national disaster, or legalise it

It is difficult to fault Friedrich Engels’ claim that “from the first day to this, sheer greed was the driving spirit of civilization’’. Mr Engels, together with Karl Max, formulated the Marxist theory and co-authored the Communist Manifesto. The latter is an indictment on Capitalism and all that it stands for. It talks about society and class struggle; and that is where we are today.

Kenya is a Capitalist society in the throes of a class struggle; a struggle that draws sustenance from raw greed which has been perfected by pretentious leaders out to make a killing while the opportunity presents itself. The common man has had to go through a rough patch as the privileged gorge themselves on his sweat. But like everything else, there is a limit and the implosion stage appears nigh.

The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) has started to feed on itself days after Parliament imploded on allegations of corruption that has not only pervaded the Ababu Namwamba led Public Accounts Committee (PAC), but other committees as well, including Members of Parliament in their individual capacities. Everywhere one turns to; the police, hospitals, Parliament, school’s, private sector, the Judiciary and parastatals, one is assailed by the putrid stench of corruption.

I am sceptical about what is going on at the EACC, which, I believe, is an elaborate charade being carried out by people intent on diverting attention from real issues. No sooner had the pressure to prosecute Anglo-leasing architects been reluctantly accented to than word leaks EACC will be ejected out of Integrity Centre in a couple of months. Days after parading in court former government heavy-weights on corruption charges, the petition by two commissioners to disband the EACC resurfaces; added to which the EACC Chairman purported to send the deputy Chief Executive Officer on compulsory leave only to have his orders revoked by the Chief Executive officer.

All institutions have organisational structures; the chain of command, powers and privileges. Is it possible EACC doesn’t have one, that it operates in a void and nobody really knows their limitations and where their boundaries are? My take is that corruption has a life of its own, more vibrant than the combined resources of the government can suppress and it is fighting those trying to invade its lair. Short of declaring it a national disaster, the government should spare us the comic-tragedy; we can guess how it ends, with accuracy.

Mr Namwamba has been in the cross-hairs of his colleague’s gun sights lately. Nobody has taken a direct hit yet because their hands are shaky, their eyes bleary from the smoke of corruption. Members of the PAC have no moral ground to cast aspersions on their chairman this late in the day, just as much as Mr Ababu has no grounds to threaten colleagues with unleashing evidence of their corrupt dealings. This case is redolent of a fallout among individuals unable to agree on the equal sharing of the spoils of a kill.

Why did Namwamba record the conversation in a meeting in which he featured? Was he doing so as insurance for a day like this when things could go awry? Had he, perhaps intended to use it as blackmail to arm-twist some hapless individuals at a latter date? The list of possibilities is endless; not forgetting the ‘mole’ tag before he became ODM’s Secretary General. If as the chairman of a powerful house committee, Namwamba could not gallantly take on corruption, how does he hope to succeed without the powers and privileges attendant upon holding office?

Lacklustre Luhya MP’s should stop demeaning themselves. Let Namwamba fight his wars, for, in Aristotle’s words, the ideal man bears the accidents of life with dignity and grace, making the best of circumstances. Epictetus, the Greek philosopher goes ahead to say ‘if evil be spoken of you and it be true, correct yourself, if it be a lie, laugh at it.