Our Constitution has been touted as amongst advanced constitutions in the world. It is in this Constitution that Kenya has aspirations for transparency, integrity and accountability.
Such beautiful aspirations, but sadly they seem to have been captured in the document because they are the trending aspirations in the world right now. In reality, the current situation on the ground is vastly different from what we aspire for. What is being practised by the leadership and citizenry is not what is preached with the scripture of integrity, transparency and accountability as contained in our Constitution.
To borrow from a famous quote of a former British envoy to Kenya, State and public officers are eating like gluttons and vomiting on the bare feet of Kenyan citizens. Meanwhile, the people have diligently rolled up their trousers and held up their dresses to expose their feet to be abused.
We continue to be bombarded at a constant rate with news of corruption in the country from the Office of the President. Indeed, the Head of State has admitted that corruption is most prominent in this Office. Parliament has not been spared either, with committees instituted to act as Wanjiku’s watchdogs being accused of soliciting money to turn a blind eye on corruption.
The judiciary on the other hand seems only keen to mete out ‘justice’ at the sight of money and the highest bidder will be favoured, contrary to the law, even if the evidence prove otherwise.
Even the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission, that is mandated to develop and promote standards and best practices of integrity and anti-corruption and raise public awareness on ethical issues, as well as educate the public on the dangers of corruption, has been caught in the web of the same vice it should be fighting.
By choosing to remain silent spectators of the corruption circus instead of addressing this issue, we seem not to truly appreciate the repercussions of the vice. We, the ‘ordinary’ Kenyans, are the ones who pay the hefty price for corruption in the country. It is estimated that Kenya loses Sh69 billion and 300,000 jobs annually due to corruption.
With our trillion-shilling national budget, we have to go begging for Sh67 billion in the form of donor aid to sustain the budget and still have to contend with a Sh356 billion budget deficit. Imagine what we can achieve with the Sh69 billion we lose to corruption, if the money was to be directed towards the improvement of our healthcare, education and infrastructure.
This is despite the fact that every election year, we wait for political aspirants to tell us how they will create jobs if elected. It is noble that the President is talking tough about corruption. However, talk without action is dead. Meanwhile, the citizenry of this country continues with the hands-off approach of see-no-evil, hear-no-evil, which only serves to fuel the fire of corruption that is consuming our country.