Of graft and the paradox of seeing no evil

What is the end game of our continued downplaying of such seeping and infective evil? Are we sure this is the inheritance we want to pass over to our young ones? Are we proud of ourselves when school children publicly say that our gift to the world is corruption? PHOTO: COURTESY

The runaway corruption afflicting the country at every level should prick the conscience of the religious leadership and its flock.

Isn't it time we did serious introspection as members of the clergy as well as the flock as to where we are failing in churning out quality, uncompromising and value-inspired lot from our churches, mosques, temples and synagogues?

What goes wrong between the church/mosque/temples and family? As a church leader, I have been troubled deeply by this conundrum of runaway corruption where at family and church levels, people put on a pious mode but in their dealings with the State put a different mode.

What is it about the State that makes people switch off their moral and religious obligations? What is so beguiling in the public life that makes people drop their religious and family values almost immediately they get into those institutions?

Is the current trend - where people are beginning to celebrate and reward corruption - tenable for such a young democracy as ours? Is this rot sustainable and what is its impact on the quality of our life as a people?

What is the end game of our continued downplaying of such seeping and infective evil? Are we sure this is the inheritance we want to pass over to our young ones? Are we proud of ourselves when school children publicly say that our gift to the world is corruption?

Is this what God requires of us, to corrupt our way to heaven or hell? To corrupt earthly systems, trample on the poor, accumulate quick wealth and live opulent and meaningless lives with no value.

I am asking all these questions because I want to prick our collective conscience. I wish to encourage each and every one of us to inwardly search ourselves, find out that which inspires us to be corrupt and cast it out.

These are not easy questions yet we must begin to grapple with them before we are run out of town by runaway corruption. From my contemplations, I have figured out a number of areas where we are dropping the ball.

The most egregious gap in my opinion is the failure by the state and its institutions to nurture the values the church and family instil in the people. From the day a child is born, the church and the family close ranks to equip them with values necessary for quality and more fulfilling life.

From the time schooling begins, the church and family lose control of the child to a state institution- the school which, more often than note, pays lip service to religious education and concentrates on subjects that promise success in life.

We therefore find this overwhelming preoccupation with the empirical sciences and exams and little consideration for the place of religious education or even physical exercises. The point is that our education system is inclined to churn out pupils and students for the stiff rat race out here.

With this little consideration for values stretching from primary school to the university, a child is offloaded onto the ruthless public life of employment and business. The confusion sets in and rest becomes a story.

There is therefore need to sustain and enhance the place of virtue-based subjects in our schools. There is an urgent need to include anti-corruption subjects in our curriculum. We must teach our national values and principles of governance in our schools from an early age.

Another gap is the dereliction of moral policing duty from the people to a few state institutions which are themselves reeling under a myriad of inadequacies. Everyone is looking up to the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission to fight corruption at their own level.

All eyes are on the traffic police to tame corruption in our roads, yet it is the people themselves who ride in defective vehicles, give the bribes, drive past the lights and put up stalls on pedestrian paths. It's a contradiction of terms!

There is an urgent need to create a consciousness around which corruption can be arrested at individual and community levels. The Nyumba Kumi Initiative need not stop at the security level. We need ethics initiatives at the village level to restore order.

A small institution as the EACC or a police department overwhelmed by many other enforcement duties cannot, on their own, tame runway corruption in an expansive country such as ours. Indeed it will be a big miracle if they did.

Lastly, there is a need to expand the role of religious leaders to include having a day-to-day care of the lives of their flock. A relationship with a religious leader should not start and end on a religious day or a Sunday in our case. There should be continuous engagement of the clergy in various facets of our lives.

That religious leaders are being involved in recruitment of new electoral commissioners is a step in the right direction. But this is just a drop in the ocean of the areas we need to involve religious leadership. It also demands of us the clergy to pull up our socks and be the best examples we can be.