By Bernard Amaya
At independence, the founding fathers diagnosed the challenges facing the young nation of Kenya as disease, ignorance, and poverty.
With time, the list has grown to include graft, tribalism, and impunity. In attempting to tackle the problems, our top leadership opted for politically correct decisions.
They pursued the easier route to please the public. In the end, the problems have continued to persist.
History has shown that countries whose leaders took tough options eventually reaped big. Challenges such as corruption, impunity, and negative ethnicity call for tough decisions by those in authority.
Resorting to public relations, short-term solutions or hoodwinking the public cannot work. The best approach is to seek long-term solutions.
Need for responsibility
State officers whose names appear adversely in questionable deals either continue to serve the public or step aside or enjoy the looted wealth.
A number of government officials facing corruption charges are walking free and have even gone ahead to vie for other elective offices. What happened to the leadership and integrity clause in the Constitution?
Ethnicity has seemingly received official sanction as the way of transacting public affairs. The basis of a person getting a job in Kenya is his or her second name. The practice is very serious, to an extent that some Kenyans are ‘foreigners’ when they seek employment outside their counties of birth.
Indeed, we have sunk so low as a nation. It is easier for a Kenyan to get a job in a foreign country than in their own motherland. On education, it has become the obsession for policymakers to favour quantity at the expense of quality.
Having more pupils and students in schools and universities is the measure of ‘good education’, yet literacy standards continue to fall.
The same applies to the employment of graduates. Let the leadership make tough decisions and stop cosmetic measures.
Ways of taming corruption in Kenya
By Chrisbone Ogugu
Corruption is one of the challenges facing Kenya for the past few decades. People with influential positions in politics have misappropriated public property. Precious public services have become a nightmare to get. What was free is no longer free.
Many corruption scandals have surfaced. The government has created commissions to fight corruption while the public receives no answers. Those who are guilty only change positions and the government presents them to us in another form.
Among the few major scandals in Kenya are The NYS Scandal, Eurobond scandal and the Chicken gate Scandal. As Kenyans, we are still waiting for answers, even though we are almost sure that the ‘thieves’ will never face the law.
Taming corruption seems impossible. However, with goodwill, positive mind, and strategy, we can end it.
Ways to end corruption
First, taming corruption starts in schools. We should teach the young generation the importance of patriotism. They should learn to remain true and honest to their nation. We should repeat such teachings overtime until they become part of their normal life. Any acts by the young generation that show dishonesty and misconduct should result in punishment.
The government should set up a body to investigate usage of government funds on public projects. It hurts to say that government officials exaggerate the cost of government projects. The body should look keenly on tender allocations and prices of commodities in use. It should also go to the field and ensure that the projects work as per tender agreements and within the agreed time.
Punish the corrupt
Appointing qualified people to relevant positions is also important. It is a waste of time to appoint an engineer to do the work of a banker. In the same way, many appointments that politicians do focus more on the person rather than the qualifications and the skills they possess. This in turn makes the appointees puppets of those who appointed them in order to retain their positions.
Measures should exist to punish corrupt members of the society. Qualified Individuals should investigate the corrupt independently. The government should evaluate the evidence and provide feedback within the shortest time possible. The punishment for those found guilty should vary depending on the weight and extent of the graft. The punishment can be life sentence or long jail terms.
We can tame corruption. It needs the nation to come up strong against it. We need to do the right thing at the right time, in the right manner with the right people, and at the right place. Standards of morality should also prevail. As a nation, we need to be more honest, humble, and cordial.