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Kenyans feel let down by President Uhuru in war against graft

COMMENTARY
By Lynett Mwangi | August 6th 2015

When it comes to the so-called attempts to fight corruption in Kenya, the image that comes to mind is that of putting lipstick on a pig. One can put all the lipstick on a pig, but at the end of the day it is still a pig.

Actually, there is no difference between our so-called war against corruption and the sham of a facelift the Nairobi County Government gave the city in anticipation of US President Barack Obama’s visit. Surface changes to make a positive outer impression while the inner foundation is clogged with rot!

From the outset, it is pretty clear that what is being termed as an anti-corruption crusade is a political chess match.

A game of witch-hunting opponents and settling scores with individuals deemed to be too powerful and who pose a threat to the political and fiscal interests of certain entities. Individuals termed as too powerful are being singled out under a guise of reform.

In addition, the crusade bears elements akin to money laundering tactics whereby a front to investigate and discipline corrupt officials is projected but what it is, is a sham, rife with shoddy investigations that lead to recommendations not to prosecute.

Where there are recommendations to prosecute, the evidence is wanting or due process is not followed, deliberately leading to acquittal of an official who was actually corrupt and is now declared not guilty of corruption.

In his State of the Nation address in March, President Uhuru Kenya even said: “I have continuously engaged with all institutions charged with the responsibility to deal with corruption, and firmly expressed my expectations, and the people’s desire... rather than unite against this common enemy of our people, these institutions have elected to be mired in personal and institutional conflicts that have chipped away at their legitimacy and brought disrepute to the State...”

It is dismaying that the presidency takes no responsibility over this failure. The Constitution mandates the President to direct and co-ordinate the functions of ministries and Government departments. Thus, when he indicates these institutions have betrayed our trust, the same applies to him.

If there is laxity by parties statutorily tasked with the role leading the fight against corruption, then there is a wide array of legal and administrative remedies available for him to address this issue as their boss.

The blame game needs to stop and the President ought to hold to account these people bringing disrepute to the State.

After all, they are employees, and when the employee is a non-performer, then there is no need to retain them if they have been equipped with requisite skills and resources to perform their job.

Secondly, Parliament, Judiciary and other institutions whose mandate is to address corruption.

Most tellingly, we the people of Kenya, who are apparently committed to nurturing and protecting the well-being of the nation, have failed in the fight against corruption.

We do nothing much other than lament and point fingers on how Kenya is a breeding ground for corruption. Ironically, due to our inaction, we are the casualties of the vice.

Insecurity, the high cost of living due to a frail economy, poverty, bad governance, unemployment, nepotism, injustice, lack of quality services, loss of foreign investment, lack of development and many more are borne of corruption.

We tolerate misuse of power and public resources, the abuse of public trust and lack of accountability. Our inertia ensures that corruption continues to be ingrained in the fabric of the nation.

Maybe we have reconditioned ourselves to believe that corruption is natural and we should learn to live with it.

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