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We crafted our journey to problems we had long time ago

By Harrison Mwirigi Ikunda | November 24th 2015

I’m usually optimistic about Kenya. But much as I am so, there is always something of a letdown that happens. Having had my formative years during the KANU era I took a keen interest on politics and as knowledge gathered pace I was keen on economy as well. That era management of the economy and the nature of politics that thrived is a big blot to the nation to date.  I have dug so much into Kenya’s history and I can tell some bits of that and another. I have view that we crafted our journey to problems we had long time ago.  To change a culture takes revolutionary or radical efforts. Right now watch closely,  most top politicians have their eyes primed on 2017 elections and some strategically scheming about post that period more so, the likelihood of the 2022 political shape.

The problem in Kenya is not that we don’t know the solutions of some of our challenges, it is we do nothing about it. We fear the repercussions of being seen working against what could be the tribal or community wishes and support a cause no matter how senseless or the shortcomings in it so long as it serves the feelings of the community ‘god fathers’. In essence then politics in Kenya for many is not for a service but to meet personal goals camouflaged in community interest. It is for the same reasons you find many heroes of dubious distinctions and whom the society rewards with positions and at times unfortunately, even in what are supposed to be holy institutions like in church. This is possible because our societal glorification of materialism has no boundaries.

Recently while on a seminar, I heard one of the speakers lament that in our country if you grow rich through corrupt means or even something illegal or through compromising regulators you are taken to be a hero. Indeed he said if you hold a senior or influential position somewhere and abuse it to make money or you created an aura of power to make money, there is a likelihood the society will keep rewarding you more so with elective posts of influence. He said that the fact that you have the power of money you can dish a project here and there to endear to the community and buy their support. This he said is part of the main reasons people in high profile positions are defended by their respective communities when they face accusations. Those who work hard and honestly but are not well endowed or are poor are regarded as either untalented, lazy or simply stupid.

Much as the President has articulated some good measures in his speech yesterday, more so targeting fraud perpetrated in connivance with private sector players it will take a lot of vigilance and discipline to eradicate the mess. Indeed a lot of what is lost in tenders and procurement obviously goes to some business somewhere. Moreover, the war on graft must cast the net very wide to target licensing, policing, compliance and ethical or otherwise actions of officers mandated to carry the government programmes or duty. Nonetheless, as it is highly acknowledged, unless we change the course of the culture of graft and tribalism that is so entrenched in Kenya, a safe and peaceful destiny cannot be assured. Corruption is a national disaster.  But we need to look closely and address the culture that supports these activities and the politics of the same that seem to thrive on dishonesty of the players. The over glorification of materialism (there is nothing wrong with wealth) such that we don’t see any evil with dirty money is our biggest undoing.

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