The runaway graft in Kenya is not news. Politicians and public servants squander public resources with impunity. Besides, they justify their wayward practices without shame.
Those who oppose the vice are threatened or done away with. Those who ‘eat’ are glorified while those who value ethics and integrity are vilified.The annoying reality is that the country is sinking into debt as individuals illegally accumulate wealth.
In the wake of inflation and rising bank interest rates, business and families are bound to operate on shoe-string budgets. Such scenarios, as history shows can erupt into civil restlessness- that can lead to even more wanton waste and destruction. In the long run, the corrupt and straight citizens are affected.
Kenya has been fiscally irresponsible. We have gone on spending and looting sprees, ignoring experts’ advice. For long, the annual deficit has been more than the annual economic growth rate. Consequently, the net debt has exceeded one-third of gross domestic product.
“The anti-graft agency should be given powers to prosecute without fear or favour. It should not be swayed through political manipulation. Once the graft kingpins see action, not rhetoric, they will stop the vice”
Ultimately, we are now paying the price of extravagance. Kenya’s financial status must be told as it is. Announcing populist measures with zero reflective signs only serves to evade the problem.
Though the Vision 2030 has achieved some mileage, the larger dream could be thwarted by poor leadership and self-seeking interests. The country’s economy will be dented and so will other key sectors.
While the middle class might not feel the actual impact of corruption, it will be a different scenario for slum dwellers who survive ‘well’ on minimal resources. The families, under stable heads cross over to the neighbouring leafy suburbs to earn a coin. In the evening or when they are paid, they spend their earnings thriftly.
Their patience could be overstretched if they witness their employers living in opulence as they try to stretch their cents.
Nations are no different from individual families. A family with sober leadership will survive through hard times and so will a country with wise leaders.
President Uhuru Kenyatta has the opportunity to save Kenya’s economic-socio-political situation. He should deal with the rogue leaders and public servants who want to take the country to the dogs. He should sack non-performing crooked leaders to save Kenyans from inflation and high bank interest rates.
He should reclaim illegally acquired wealth and enforce values and ethics in institutions. The anti-graft agency should be given powers to prosecute without fear or favour. It should not be swayed through political manipulation.
Once the graft kingpins see action, not rhetoric, they will stop the vice. This country should enforce policies that address wastage and pilferage. We should heed advice to avoid duplication of responsibilities that translates to duplication of payment.
One can now imagine the positive impact our former constitution would have had in the current phase of slowdown in the presence of uncontrolled wastage. Any takers?
This article was published on People Weekend on October 17-18, 2015