Corrupted economies are not able to function properly because corruption prevents the natural laws of the economy from functioning freely. As a result, corruption in a nation’s political and economic operations causes its entire society to suffer.
Deputy President William Ruto recently was badly trolled after he was quoted saying that “corruption cannot stop a leader from delivering their mandate” during a live interview with Citizen TV’s Hussein Mohammed at his Karen home.
Contrary to this assertion by a sitting Deputy President who is supposed to be assisting his boss fight corruption; Corruption compromises people’s futures and their development. It also costs a fortune. Rampant corruption will drain any economy of the resources needed for projects like infrastructure development, manufacturing, health, education among others.
Kenya signified its commitment in the fight against corruption by becoming the first country in the world to ratify the UN Convention Against Corruption in December 2003 in Merida, Mexico. This was after becoming a signatory to the AU Convention on Preventing and combating Corruption in 2003 Kenya later ratified the AU Convention in 2007. In 2004, a National Anti-corruption Steering Committee was established to complement KACC in the fight against corruption.
Kenya, however, has been plagued by a long list of corruption scandals. One of the more infamous was the Goldenberg heist which occurred in the 1990s during then-President Daniel Moi’s tenure.
Yet, the looting of public coffers is more commonly reported in recent times and the amounts involved are growing. During May and June 2018, reports about grand corruption dominated Kenyan news.
This haemorrhaging of public funds will do enormous damage to the country’s already struggling economy. The scourge of corruption in Kenya must be urgently addressed otherwise it could bring the economy to its knees.
Corruption has driven Kenya’s job situation into the abyss. It has become endemic! Businesses have cited prevalent corruption as one of the biggest obstacles to investment and eventually job creation.
In the past TWO months, at least six companies have signalled staff layoffs, which come with economic ripple effects given the number of dependents that rely on the close to 2,000 people set to lose their jobs.
East African Portland Cement Company (EAPCC), Telkom Kenya, Stanbic Bank of Kenya and East African Breweries Limited (EABL) has already notified employees of the looming layoffs, citing the need to trim their payrolls. Two other banks are said to have issued similar notices this week.
Corruption issue became worse when even politicians who are entrusted with public offices became so greedy and they started looting money meant for the public for their own private use. The president throughout 2017 and 2018 gave tough warnings to corrupt officials and at the same time, he has persuaded Kenyans to join hands towards the fight against corruption.
Uhuru Kenyatta recently said his administration’s war on corruption cost him supporters but vowed nonetheless to continue efforts to stamp out graft. In the last few months, the public prosecutor has ordered the arrest of current and former public officials on charges including abuse of office, conspiracy to steal public funds, and fraudulent compensation claims for land use.
Responding to those who called him with complaints, Kenyatta said he told them it was vital to fight impunity to achieve the dream of a better Kenya. “A time has come for us to fight impunity. A time has come for every Kenyan to realize no matter how powerful you think you are or how much money you have… That will not save you.”
Political will is the single most important ingredient to fight corruption. It has worked in Botswana and Rwanda, and in other countries like Singapore.
Kenya has the legal frameworks necessary to fight corruption, and luckily, we now have a president that is demonstrating the political will to fight corruption and quite frankly has the space to do so given that he is not running for office again.
What we need is to sustain that will until the people believe it is not a passing phase or cloud, demonstrate convictions in the cases being prosecuted to make the price too costly and painful, and inculcate a sense of anti-corruption in our society