By Koigi Wamwere
To avoid death, the vision of Kenya must be to develop from third to the first world. However, to realize the vision of development, there are two obstacles to achieving that: negative ethnicity and corruption.
The vision of developing Kenya from poverty must go hand in hand with the vision of eradicating negative ethnicity and corruption.
A house at war with itself cannot stand and an economy perpetually robbed cannot grow. Indeed, elimination of negative ethnicity and eradication of corruption are a prerequisite of developing the country.
Robbers cannot steal without arming themselves with some weapon. Similarly, the corrupt arm themselves with leadership, office, influence, and power to rob the government and country.
Robbing national resources requires power. Similarly, checkmating corruption requires greater power, influence, and leadership that only a president has.
Without presidential power, we cannot stop corruption. People with lesser power than the corrupt cannot stop them from stealing. One can only stop corruption by applying the presidential or highest power against corruption.
In Kenya, we lost the war against corruption already. The people to blame are Presidents Kenyatta, Moi, Kibaki, and now Uhuru.
We blame old presidents for old corruption and blame President Uhuru for ongoing corruption. We also blame Uhuru for some graft of the KANU and Kibaki regimes he was part of and whose rule he approved.
Corruption is widespread under President Uhuru Kenyatta
Under President Uhuru as under the other presidents, corruption has been practically pervasive.
The government cannot account for nearly a third of its annual budget. The Controller of Budget and the Auditor General named CDF and the Office of the President for corruption running into billions.
Kenya Police ranked the third most corrupt in the world and Kenyan corporate corruption ranked number one in the world.
In the past, President Uhuru received praise for denouncing land grabbing in Lamu. However, the then Cabinet Secretary for the Ministry of Land, Charity Ngilu, surprised us. She exonerated old land grabbing because the government sanctioned it.
In her view, only ongoing and government unapproved land grabbing was to stop. President Uhuru should have rebuked this exoneration of corruption but he did not, probably in his own defense.
Two more issues compounded the failure to rebuke the defence of corruption. The first was President Uhuru’s denial of corruption in the Standard Railway project. The second was when he paid money to a corrupt Anglo Leasing project.
One could connect the genesis of Uhuru’s weakness in fighting corruption to President Kenyatta’s regime. Uhuru is inexorably a link to the regime by the lineage of blood, economy, and politics.
Unfortunately for Uhuru, his father planted the roots of corruption. He permitted civil servants to engage in business while still in government. When people complained, Kenyatta replied, “My birdie hide. If you are caught, you are not mine.”
Kenyatta also castigated Bildad Kaggia for not enriching himself as a leader.
Reasons President Uhuru cannot win against corruption
Apart from Kenyatta lineage, there are other reasons why President Uhuru Kenyatta shall not win the war against corruption,
Verbally, Uhuru condemns corruption. However, he is a disciple of capitalism that is the mother of corruption.
Though he condemns corruption, Uhuru has not combated the evil with the power of example. Presidents General Murtala Mohammed, Thomas Sankara, and Julius Nyerere almost decimated corruption in their countries with the power of example.
Uhuru has not personally championed the war against corruption. He has not dealt a deathblow to anyone corrupt in his office, government, or party.
President Uhuru has not stated anywhere that his desired legacy is the elimination of corruption. Nor is the eradication of negative ethnicity.
Whether we like it or not, largely, people will judge President Uhuru by the characters of those around him. From his friends, political comrades, advisors, business companions, defenders and even enemies. If any of Uhuru’s associates are corrupt, he too will look corrupt.
Like his father, Uhuru has not banned civil servants from doing business while in government. This activity can only be corrupt.
President Uhuru has not disassociated himself with the notion that the president or governor also owns the government, country, or county. It is theirs to eat with friends and also their family members.
All people Uhuru has put into government have no reputation of being warriors against corruption.
President Uhuru must fight graft
Corruption is a culture that we should uproot. Yet, Uhuru has not championed the culture of integrity to take its place.
Negative ethnicity and graft are allies. Uhuru cannot fight graft without fighting negative ethnicity, which is the bedrock of Kenyan politics. If Uhuru embraces negative ethnicity, he cannot be an enemy of corruption.
Negative ethnicity, corruption, and poverty will determine the fate of Kenya. Ten years of Uhuru’s presidency, without fighting graft, will be too long a respite for them.
President Uhuru Kenyatta must fight graft or openly tell Kenyans they are on their own.