President Uhuru Kenyatta’s pledge to lead from the front in the war on corruption is long overdue.
As part of the vanguard that will wage a war for Kenya’s very soul, the President has done well to rope in all the arms of government as well as members of the private sector.
We have a multiplicity of institutions whose sole onus is to battle and eradicate corruption. That Mr Kenyatta feels obliged to throw additional bodies into the fray to stem the bleeding is a clear sign that despite the country’s long documented struggle to extricate itself from the clutches of graft, much still needs to be done.
By declaring corruption a threat to national security, the President has raised the bar to its highest level this is about a nation’s survival.
It is heartening that there are plans to introduce additional anti-corruption legislation as well as vigorously pursue and punish hitherto untouchable institutions like banks as well as their directors.
Much goodwill has been lost since the Jubilee government ascended to power, as Kenyans have responded to the avalanche of graft-related incidents with practiced resignation born of experience.
Public reaction to some of the reported malfeasances that have cost the country billions of shillings has followed a well-defined pattern – a vocalised outrage that swiftly burns out before the next expose detailing the latest plunder of public funds.
But this need not be the case. In the public, the government has its biggest supporter in the fight against corruption.
The story is still told how in January 2003, matatu passengers emboldened by the exit of Kanu in the previous month’s elections confronted a traffic police officer and forced him to return a Sh100 bribe he had taken from a tout.
That might not sound like much when the country had just haemorrhaged billions courtesy of Goldenberg, but we would not be in the current tar pits if that spirit of 12 years ago had been nurtured and allowed to flourish instead of being nipped in the bud by a nervous – and complicit – officialdom suddenly wary of an empowered citizenry.
From the country’s past failings, we can at least say we know how not to fight this monster that has learnt to cloak itself in ever more presentable and difficult-to-detect guises.
All people of goodwill must support this fresh endeavour to rescue the country from those who would see it fail.
SOURCE: BUSINESS DAILY