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The story of the hare and the tortoise; Fighting corruption in Kenya

By Malik Mureu | March 16th 2020

The fable goes that one day the hare and tortoise after a prolonged feud picked on a cross country race to decide who was the overall all-round animal. You see, for a long time, the hare had created the illusion that speed and wit were the ultimate measures of who deserved the crown. Tortoise, on the other hand, held fast the fact that one could not pick a few traits and use them as a standard measure on all animals, so reluctantly, he agreed to hare’s challenge but knew he had to think hard and fast.

Hare by virtue of his speed and apparent quick thinking on his feet made him a solitary animal, he never felt the need for communal investment and had no time for his fellow kinsmen. Tortoise, on the other hand, had built his life around his community and took time to appreciate the various qualities everyone brought on board. So as hare took to daily physical training in preparation for the big race day, tortoise spent time rallying his kinsmen to endless meetings to discuss the great duel.

Why the tortoise spent so much time on consultation and planning and not physically prepare for the race was dumbfounding. As things stood, hare looks to have matched his mouth to his feet, and surely as day turns into night, all odds seem to be in his favour. Hare wondered aloud why such a slow animal like the tortoise had agreed to a race premised on speed and why on earth didn’t he at least practise for the run like hare was doing? Tortoise, on the other hand, kept his cards close to his chest and seemed too comfortable for someone who was facing imminent defeat.

 The sun rose early on the day of the great race, and loud bellows and grunts could be heard from a distance as the animal kingdom converged to witness what looked like a mismatched duel. Hare, as expected, was up and early looking all youthful and raring to go. Tortoise, on the other hand, crawled up slowly to the starting line turning a blind eye and deaf ear to the crowds with their whistles and jeers. The race began, and by the first day, the hare had an unassailable lead, or so it seemed.

In the end, the tortoise won. Yes, shocking? The tortoise won.

The fight against corruption is akin to this renown fable in many ways. The perpetrators of corrupt deeds and saboteurs of government seem to have it all. They seem to be getting away with all their misdeeds, and in all manner, they, just like the hare, look poised to win the great race. Then in comes the time tested and structured but slow ‘tortoise’ bogged down with legal and regulatory protocol, and in the end, he wins.

In the race between the hare and the tortoise, the government and all its agencies represent the tortoise. It looks slow, acts slow, but in the end, the government always wins. You may wonder how the tortoise beat the hare; this is how. You see, while the hare was browbeating and chest-thumping, the tortoise gathered all his kinsmen, and together they hatched a plan. The tortoise placed each of his relatives near all the race checkpoints, and he waited patiently near the finish line. At every checkpoint, the tortoise relatives would record their presence and fade off, leaving the real tortoise to cross the line just before the hare!

The Ethics & Anti-Corruption Commission, the Director of Prosecution, the Directorate of Criminal Investigation, the Asset Recovery Agency, and countless other government agencies are the tortoise and his kinsmen. They appear slow, indecisive, and without teeth, but a glance at the growing list of achievement calls for a second look at this ‘already won race.’ Of particular interest to me is the fervent effort to recover land belonging to educational institutions.

The recovery of the parcel of land L.R No. 1/534 I.R. 112612 belonging to the University of Nairobi situated along Galana Road valued at Kshs. 2 Billion, is not only monumental but the noblest achievement. The recovery of Rift Valley Institute of Science and Technology land in Nakuru, specifically described as LR NO 22771/3 Njoro and valued at Kshs. 1.2 Billion may have equally gone unnoticed but is a major success in this fight against impunity. In the din of all accusations of government not hunting the perpetrators of corruption, the growing list of returned public assets is encouraging, and in the end, the house will always win.

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