The Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) recently set off an anti-corruption campaign dubbed "Breaking the Chains of Corruption".
Upon reading their statement during the campaign’s launch in Subukia, something caught my attention.
As I understand it, the campaign is meant to remind Kenyans that corruption, to use the exact words in the Bishops’ statement, is “a rot of the heart”. Quite a strong imagery.
Getting sick even without being wounded is quite discomforting. So we seek cure. In the unfortunate event one is wounded, carrying a bandage on any part of the body is bothersome.
It is more bothersome if the wound is a result of a surgery. For medics to opt for major surgery, they would have considered in totality that there is no alternative to undergoing an operation. In all these, we seek to eliminate the cause of the sickness.
- 1 How graft is turning Kenya into a graveyard for startups
- 2 Cardinal Njue resigns after attaining retirement age
- 3 Avoid the temptation to tax Kenyans more
- 4 How corruption limits our spiritual sphere
The image of a rotting heart signifies a human being who is on the way to death.
No one can live without a heart. A rot in the heart means the existence of a scar at the engine that pumps life into the rest of the body.
If corruption is a rot in the heart, what are the symptoms? The bishops provide an answer: The symptom is loss of sense of what is right.
Which means, the more the heart rots the more conscience decays. The more conscience decays, the more corruption grows. The bigger the rot, the bigger the corruption.
A person who suffers a rot in the heart will not realise that corruption is a disease because already such a person is sick.
Often, a mad person does not know that certain actions are injurious to self and others. For such a person, any action contemplated can be executed.
We all know how corruption has permeated our system of governance. We can paraphrase this using the words of the bishops.
We all know how the rot in the heart of the nation has permeated the veins of the country. Our veins supply blood to the national body from a heart with a rot.
The question to ask at this point is this: Why don’t we, individually and collectively, seek medical attention to get rid of the rot in our national heart?
At least the bishops decided to heal from the rot with the gesture of removing shoes as a sign of repentance and signing a form declaring their stand against corruption during the launch of the campaign.
Many factors sustain rot in the heart, but here is a starting point. Politicians and people endowed with deep pockets should do the religious faiths one favour; help them stand on their feet away from corruption.
A very old song in the Catholic Church says: “Kutoa ni moyo wala sio utajiri” (to give is for the willing, not showing riches). The distorted theology that the more you give, God will double, is nothing but a rot of a greedy heart.
Just don’t allow yourself to feed the heart of the church with what could be a corruption virus. Simply do the right thing on financial matters.
Give because it is what your heart invites you to do. The more you give because you are willing to, and not because you are spiritually manipulated, the more you get.
Kenyans, Christians in particular, are very good at smearing politicians and rich chaps with all kinds of dirt. We know how corrupt they are and how they corrupt everyone.
Yet, I have heard on many occasions politicians clearly articulate their frustrations that after running around facing all sorts of hostilities and extortionists out there, they run to the house of God to find solace.
Regrettably, that space also turns out to be a forum for someone to solicit for falsely justified funds.
It is your turn as politicians to join the bishops in telling Christians that we are pushing you to do things that you know in your heart of hearts you don’t want to do.
That is, except for those whose hearts are considerably damaged and do not want to seek medical care.
The message is simple: Refuse, without guilt, to be used by unscrupulous leaders at various levels, as ATMs.
All of us have to protect one another from acquiring the “rot of the heart”.
Fighting corruption is omni-directional, not unidirectional.
Dr Elias Mokua Comments on Social Justice Issues.