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So many questions in Kenyans' minds, but few answers

By Wangui Wambugu | October 29th 2015

Lately, I have read and heard of corruption so much that my head reels. Not because corruption is new, but with time it has become so boldly random and thorough it is scary. It is even called grand corruption these days.

Goldenberg made us gasp with cash transactions worth Sh5.8 billion and Sh13.5 billion. Then Anglo Leasing with its 30 million-Euro (Sh3 billion) tender, which was way above the originally-quoted 6 million Euros (Sh600 million).

Never mind the big scandals. What about the comma errors? The NYS procurement headache? Sugar, boots, publicity and consultancy fee sagas? Let's not forget the creative Chickengate scandal where bribes were coded as "chicken". The figures sometimes make me immobile.

Everybody wants to build a mansion worth billions of shillings and have a whole republic of land in their name. This country cannot contain our dreams much longer. Our economy cannot possibly churn out the figures we all need. What jobs or businesses can we have that pay us eight figures monthly?

How will we live our dreams? The only place that seems to have these glorious figures is the Government. Government workers live out our wishes. When you are responsible for the ministry and you manage to be richer than the ministry budget, yet the ministry is broke, is that even corruption? Looks like a way of life to me.

When money is missing - never mind that it is always somewhere because "missing" is a place - then it is traced to a business deal with ghost companies and offshore accounts, is that still corruption? When money is assigned to a national project on paper but ends up in personal projects almost every time, is that still corruption?

When offices are corrupt free zones, who is corrupt? When my home is built with money from hospital-equipment money that I diverted, will I ever need to go to hospital?

Can corruption be redefined? Because I am dizzy from figuring it out. Especially the part where it is hard to stop. What are we looking at ten years from now? Can a country possibly have schools, hospitals, banks that do not work? How hard is it really to build a country? Can we decide to build mansions, roads, schools, hospitals equally? Where will our big cars be driven?

How will we live without forests and trees? Are there alternatives to nature that money can buy us? Can patriotism balance our ambitions? Is there anyone left who wants the best for their country? Is it possible to want to build a mansion in a country that has working systems? Can we sign cheques with tomorrow in mind? Maybe we can actually think ahead ten years? What happened to wanting a country that we can be proud of?

If my grandchildren inherit a country, which they will have to patch up and heal from scratch, why did I live? If anybody has to pay extra to get a service sped up, it means the service can actually be availed to everybody faster. Will anybody die if they worked faster? What difference is a week, a day?

Do we rewrite the oaths of office? Make them more binding? Is it possible to serve? When we clear officials of corruption allegations, does the money that was misappropriated get refunded? What is our problem seriously? Can we be helped? When people say corruption is a cancer, are we looking at a vast cemetery complete with corruption epitaphs?

When our youth are availed exam answers before the questions, are we also going to give them the money before the work? When we spend what we do not have, what is that? Does it get harder? Can we pause and change? Can our ambitions be inclusive as opposed to selfish? Are we the generation that will change Kenya for the better?

Will we deplete this great nation until she throws us out? This corruption magic that Kenyans are working everyday will go down in history as epic. When a handful of citizens own a country that claims to be democratic and fair, it is sad. And history will honour us in shame, we will be the example that everyone else learns from.

We sat before we squatted.

This general feeling of anger and helplessness sweeping over the country should be attended to. Grumpy citizens make a grumpy republic. And it will show in our everyday activities.

When the larger population has more questions than answers, we may sound and seem ignorant. The select few who have more answers than we do may feel powerful today.

Our birthright makes us equal partakers, seclusion may work for a while but in the long run we will meet midway, when the smoke from the bottom starts to choke at the top and there is no space outside.

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