Youth envy graft lords’ lifestyles, shows survey

Majority of youth in Kenya would amass wealth quickly and corruptly as long as they did not get caught, a study has revealed.  The Kenya Youth Survey Report indicates over 50 per cent of youth polled do not care how they make money as long as they did not end up in jail.

The survey showed that 35 per cent would readily take or give a bribe as it emerged majority see corruption as a sure way to gain wealth quickly.
Anti-corruption activist John Githongo has attributed the worrying trend to escalating cases of corruption in the country which have gone unpunished.

“These findings are disturbing. Over the past 50 years, people have looted the country but none has been punished…the youth look at this and get inspired to do the same,” he said.  Githongo says all is not lost as long as President Uhuru Kenyatta cracks the whip on corrupt officials.

Fear retribution

The study conducted by the Aga Khan University and funded by International Development Research Centre (IDRC) shows youth admire wealthy individuals, corrupt or not.

Apparently, 73 per cent are afraid to stand up for what is right for fear of retribution with a lowly 40 per cent strongly believing it is important to pay taxes.

This comes as multi-billion- shilling corruption scandals have dogged Kenya and made headlines globally. Despite government’s resolve to fight the menace, few prosecutions and convictions are yet to be made in what Githongo cautions will erode the rule of law in the country.

East African Institute director Alex Awiti said while that integrity among the youth appear to be on a nosedive, a majority value their religious faith at 85 per cent, 60 per cent value family first, 45 per cent work while 30 per cent prioritise both wealth and freedom.

“However, while work is a respected value, the association between hard work and success has declined dramatically; 83 per cent of youth with only primary school education believe that they will succeed if they work hard,” said Awiti.

Overall, the youth in Kenya have positive views about politics and democracy with 90 per cent saying it is important to vote, 70 per cent of which acknowledge they have power to make a difference.

The study however indicates that 62 per cent of the youth are vulnerable to electoral bribery, with 40 per cent admitting they will only vote for a candidate who bribed them.