The corruption song has been sung tirelessly by Kenyans for years; from the Goldenberg Scandal, to the Kazi Kwa Vijana Initiatives and recently the Eurobond Saga and the NYS millions. The need to fight corruption has been reiterated over and over but the government has been a toothless, barking dog. The current government has continuously made promises about curbing the heightened graft in the country but little has happened thus far. With the recent Jamhuri day celebrations, the president once again declared his renewed zeal to fight corruption as the country turns 52.
One of the chief challenges in fighting graft in this country has been the politicizing of corruption, turning it into a war of political allegiances and ethnic inclinations. Attempts to root out those caught in corrupt allegations and corruption scandals have been reduced to personal vendettas, aimed at drawing attention away from the seriousness of the situations. MPs have been complicit, cherry picking sides based on which political parties they belong to, while defending endorsing persons caught in corruption allegations. This is especially true during political rallies.
MPs first allegiance remains to the people of Kenya whom they are elected to serve. If billions of shillings are being embezzled, their role should be to identify these loopholes, seal them and ensure that the responsible parties have their day in court. However, when MPs turn corruption scandals into episodes of victimization, where certain politicians and parties are alleged to be victims of witch hunts aimed at bringing them down, they minimize the gravity of the situation rendering the fight against corruption pointless .When the war on corruption is falsely made out to be a personal attack, it only works towards further polarizing the people and doing little to defeat corruption. Meanwhile, the corrupt continue to get away with it as ordinary Kenyans suffer.
MPs ought to be on the forefront in this war on graft. Instead of resorting to the everyday inter party back and forth accusations that bear no consequence, their focus should be on strengthening and bringing to task bodies, institutions and parties charged with investigating corruption such as the Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission, to do their job. Instead of frustrating such institutions and belittling their attempts at fighting graft, MPs should be in a position to offer support to them whether through legislation or otherwise as a way of creating more efficient anti corruption systems and fast tracking necessary prosecutions. MPs should focus more on facilitating evidence collection and unearthing truths where possible in corruption cases. Such measures shift the narrative from mere rhetoric to actual efforts at fighting the corruption.
So long as MPs continue to politicize the fight against corruption, they will continue to be their own worst enemies in restoring the integrity of Parliament and that of the country .They must strive to uphold high standards and refrain from allowing party and personal interests from blinding them against corruption.