Do we have even one thing that is still genuine in this country?

Integrity Centre where Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission office is located. [Wilberforce Okwiri,Standard]

The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission has just released a report that has become our shame as a nation. Despite the effort being made to curb corruption, we are seeing an increase in the same.

According to the report, the highest bribes are paid by people seeking employment. With an average figure of Sh163,260, it is obvious that this is not your ordinary “Wanjiku” or “Mama mboga” looking for a job, it is bigger than that.

The report also showed that the average size of a bribe grew from Sh6,865 in 2022 to Sh11,625 in 2023, a whopping 69 per cent increase. Think for a moment, how would our lives be different if this is the growth we posted on our economy?

The report came against the backdrop of the outcry over fake fertiliser. It is not lost on Kenyans that just recently there have been reports about fake car engine oil, fake cooking oil not to mention the fake academic certificates.

It is unimaginable that the government, with all its machinery, has people in its employ using fake certificates. One wonders what is happening in other sectors.

Worse, how is Wanjiku supposed to tell between what is fake and what is not if people holding fake papers will find their way into the government payroll?

We have seen crooks posing as traders taking advantage of unsuspecting customers by selling them avocados that have been painted brown to look ripe. What about the roadside businesses that package the potatoes in 'debes' to attract customers only for them to discover the 'debe' was empty in the middle? We have conned ourselves as Kenyans. We have mastered the art of short-changing ourselves and no wonder we are a frustrated lot.

Besides being exploited by the middleman who buys his produce at throw-away prices, the farmer must contend with theft of his crop just before harvesting. This demotivates the farmer who is likely to abandon farming altogether.

This then compounds the problem and pushes the farmer deeper into poverty not to mention how this compromises our ability to be food secure.

As a country, we need to interrogate where the rain started beating us. The road ahead does not look promising and unless we change our direction, our children may lose hope. We ought to get serious about our values; what are we teaching our children? Where did we lose the value of hard work and integrity?

How can we reintroduce these virtues to our children before things get out of hand? We surely don’t want to leave such a nation to them, we will have failed them.

Kenya prides herself as being over 80 per cent Christian, it is therefore a shame to mention these things because they clearly contradict what the Bible teaches. God expects us to deal justly with one another.

We are supposed to use honest scales and weights when trading with each other. He expects us to treat one another the same way we would like to be treated. These are basic expectations in any civilised society.

Kenyans are a resilient lot and will quickly bounce back given the right environment. However, someone must make them see the adverse effects of corruption. Time has come for all of us to think about the real consequences of corruption and take action.

The church has a big role to play in educating the masses on the negative impact of corruption. Our basic services become inaccessible and unaffordable to the majority due to corruption.

Our children grow up in an environment of confusion where values have been interchanged; we call good bad and bad good.

Values that once dictated how we live are quickly being eroded. This is not healthy for our nation. Evil prevails when good people keep silent and turn the other way and as Edmund Burke asserts, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing”