It’s been years now since the song ‘’Nchi ya Kitu Kidogo” by Kenya’s renowned Benga artist Eric Wainaina hit the airwaves and nothing seems to have changed on matters of corruption.
Back in 2001, the song 'Nchi ya Kitu Kidogo' which means a nation of petty corruption came into being and Kenyans could easily resonate with the song.
Children in schools and at home despite not understanding the songs' aim could be heard singing at the peak of their voices while playing. Matatus and other public service vehicles, pubs and every ‘kiosk’ in the streets could play the song which addressed the issue of bribes that were, and in many cases still are, the grease that moved government machinery in the Judiciary, police, the then CID, immigration and registration of persons, and almost any other service that was essential for Kenyans. At the time, Kenya’s socio-economic aspect had sunk, and poverty levels increased due to corruption. The song clearly highlighted on people’s experiences and resonated well with the citizens.
Has there been any progress so far to address the corruption scourge in the country?
Notably, corruption has been and is still a major challenge affecting Kenya in the social, economic and political ranks. Despite the efforts towards fighting corruption such as the media and the public being given the mandate and power to speak against and report corruption issues, it remains a major challenge.
We have had grand corruption scandals such as the Anglo Leasing, the National Youth Service, Goldenberg, and the Grand Regency hotel scandal among other grand corruption schemes some of which the public was not able to understand and have not been addressed to date owing to corruption.
Recently, we had the Arror and Kimwarer dam scandals in Elgeyo Marakwet, in which billions were lost, this was the first time a senior sitting government official was laid-off and charged. Former treasury CS Henry Rotich was charged for abuse of office by failing to comply with guidelines relating to procurement and financial misconduct.
In Kenya, corruption is still the order of the day. People who steal from public coffers are praised and honored. Devolution has faced a huge challenge in implementation owing to corruption. Today, most leaders who in the past were involved in corruption scandals have ended up being re-elected as MPs, MCAs governors and senators, something that leaves one wondering if Kenyans understand the impact of corruption on its economy and whether or not corruption will ever come to an end.
Seeking a permanent solution to addressing corruption is the only way out, and this time around, the building bridges initiative aims to end this culture of impunity whose tentacles are deeply entrenched in the Kenyan society at large and have become endemic. Persons involved in corruption scandals will take responsibility through resignation. The BBI will ensure such negligent leaders are held accountable by ensuring they face stiff penalties for mismanagement or the plunder of public resources. It will further ensure that stolen resources are fully recovered and the affected compensated with the whistleblower getting 5% of the recovered assets and cash.
Corruption cannot be neutralized overnight. It requires a multi-pronged strategy where prosecutorial institutions present solid evidence to help convict offenders while at the same time instilling public service ethos.
This will ensure the fight against corruption is nationalized to curb and dissuade corruption, If implemented integrity will be entrenched as part of our moral value system.