Toa Ya Macho - We Have Eyes but we Can't See

One fine morning, Salim and I boarded a Mandera based bus “Medina”. Salim had invited me to his aunt's wedding in Mandera. The trip looks cool as we chat all along. This being my first time attending a Somali traditional wedding, I was both anxious and excited.

As we get close to Mandera town, four traffic officers stop our bus asking everyone to produce their National Identity Cards. Some of us produce our ID’S but those without are asked to give some money for them to proceed with the journey which they do. his incident leaves me in deep thoughts and am wondering how bribery has its roots in our country and it appears normal to ask and receive bribes. The fact that Mandera is an area prone to constant attacks by terrorists triggers me to conclude that even terrorists might have been allowed into the country through similar ways.

For some time now, terms like ‘toa ya macho’, ‘chai’, ‘ekelea kakitu’ and “toa kitu kidogo” have been common among many in our nation. These have been used as a softer way to ask for a bribe to receive certain favors.

Phrases like “Uko na nini?”, “utatoa nini” meaning ‘what do you have?’ or ‘what will you give?’ have also been used to ask for bribes indirectly. These have become evident especially when one is in dire need for a job. One would be asked to give a bribe for him or her to be considered for certain positions. The transport and security sectors are also not left out in this. Many times, vehicles are found to be in the wrong but because of “Kitu Kidogo” many drivers have escaped arrest, and this has led to the increase of road accidents and unroadworthy vehicles. The University education system has also been affected by this. Some lecturers have received bribes from students in-order to give free grades, something that has affected the job industry negatively through having non-professionals and incompetent staff.

Public trust and prosperity have been endangered by corruption which is a major threat to Kenya. Devolution has also been greatly affected by corruption and services are not getting to the counties as planned.

Kenya’s public and private institutions are being undermined by corruption which negatively affects the economy hence the destruction of our aspirations as a nation and this is slowly being transferred to the younger generation and as a result, we see an economy that cannot provide job security for its youth leading to a young generation full of apathy.

Thanks to the BBI! In it we have hope and a promise that efforts to counter corruption will be supported fully; whistleblowers and media freedom in reporting corruption will be enhanced. Whistle blowers will further be promoted through being given a 5% of the recovered loot for the provided information on corruption deals. BBI further promises to promote ethics

through incorporating ethics and performance assessment training in every public service course for one to be promoted.

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