This was the looting week. We hadn’t even digested how NYS Season II had somewhat surpassed season I or what’s really going on at the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB), and now the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) is probing the biggest corruption scandal yet at the Kenya Pipeline Company (KPC). The scandal involves a whopping Sh. 70 billion.
What’s perhaps interesting is how majority average Kenyans only whistle at the thieving on overdrive as they shake their heads in disbelief. But you can’t blame them seeing as only 2.89 per cent of formal sector employees in Kenya earn more than Sh100,000 per month according to a Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) data.
If more than half of formal sector workers (64.5 per cent) are living on low wages of between Sh20,000 and Sh49,000 according to the same data as reported by Business Daily, it’s understandable why the public can’t seem to wrap their heads around Sh. 70 billion.
It’s easier for such a populace to get angrier at the teacher from Wakaela Secondary School, in Machakos County, who was sentenced to six years imprisonment for soliciting and receiving a bribe of Sh10,000. Never mind the average Kenyan wouldn’t ask why those stealing millions were getting lenient sentence-in the rare case that they get their day in court.
With such a financially demoralized population these talks about people stepping aside and polygraphs and ‘fresh war on corruption’ won’t cut it.
What’s even more absurd is how all arms of government are shouting themselves sore when the remedy is right there before them. The Chief Justice promised corruption cases will be prioritized and disposed expeditiously; warning corrupt judges.
Members of Parliament on the other hand are talking tough; particularly watchdog committee chairpersons, and others are proposing new laws. Kiharu MP for instance is proposing life imprisonment for those found culpable while nominated Senator Isaac Mwaura moved a motion to have those found guilty executed in public.
Meanwhile the Executive under President Uhuru and his Deputy Ruto have perfected the act of getting angry and issuing fresh threats with every fresh scandal. If one was to do a research on newspaper headlines on corruption since 2014; one would be surprised at the number of headlines capturing the President’s anger and his decision to quash corruption. It’s like a circus.
What then? Should we resign to fate and wait for another regime? Absolutely not. We have to keep pushing the government to use the most prudent way and to nail the corrupt. To that end President Uhuru should stop skirting around the issue talking of polygraphing procurement officers in government.
As someone already pointed out, corruption is not about procurement; it’s a chain and the only way to break it and identify those involved is to implement to the letter the wealth declaration by all public and state servants before officially taking up positions and annually thereafter. In addition, EACC should carryout lifestyle audit on those in the private sector working with civil servants to fleece government and repossess those assets even as we trust Judiciary to be expeditious in these cases. This is the sure way.
Consider the Police vetting exercise that left many policemen crying unable to explain the amounts of money in their bank accounts and the over 400 who got dismissed. Why try fix what’s not broken? Forget the hard talk and drafting new laws. Just audit the lifestyles of public servants and where it doesn’t add up, do the needful. Perhaps we could seal the gap and get value for money and bridge that gap between the rich and the poor.