I have come to resonate with one of the critics who referred to corruption as a cancer that begins slowly but then rapidly spreads to other parts of the body. Therefore I won’t be wrong if I baptized this menace the term cancer. For a long period of time, corruption has been an infectious disease that affects even the most righteous of all.
Therefore, the question that should be ringing in our mind right now is “who should we blame?” Many a times, our political leaders have taken responsibility but it is time we learnt not to be quick at pointing fingers. This is simply because corruption starts with you and me. Maybe this is why we should remind ourselves about the definition of corruption. In my understanding, it simply refers to any unfair dealing. So if you obtain your goods illegally, tamper with electricity or fail to comply with the dictates of the Kenya Revenue Authority then you are also very corrupt. My point is that one doesn’t have to dip his/her fingers into the public coffers only; there are many forms of corruption. These include:
Bribery- this is the act of convincing someone to do you a favor by giving him/ her money, presents or other gifts.
Favoritism- it refers to unfair support given to an individual or group especially by people in authority. It can also be defined as preferential treatment.
Nepotism- using your power or influence to give preferential treatment to members of your own family.
Tribalism- favoring members of your own tribe.
Cronyism- giving important jobs to people who are close to you rather than to independent people who have the required knowledge, skills and experience.
Now you do understand quite well when I tell you to turn the pointing finger. Each and every one of us has rubbed shoulders with the law in one way or another. Another indispensable fact that we should not shun is the myriad number of corruption scams that have shaken the country to its core.
One of the highly volatile corruption scandals in Kenya is the Goldenberg scandal in which gold was smuggled from Congo. This scam cost the Kenyan tax payers over 10 % of our country’s GDP.
The other scandal was called the Paul Ngei Maize Scandal (1965). In this, Paul Ngei, the then minister for marketing and cooperatives got involved in a scam that led to a national maize shortage.
Next is the Grand Regency Scandal in which the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) allegedly sold a luxury hotel to Libyan investors below the appraised market price.
In the year 2009, the sale of imported maize scandal also came to light.
Another looting spree at Kenya’s National Youth Service also saw suspects being arraigned in court and charged with fraud. A cake of Kshs 8 billion was allegedly shared among individuals.
Lastly, the 2009 Triton oil scam also found its way into the headlines when the Kenya Pipeline Company (KPC) secretly released oil without informing its financiers.
These are just but a few cases. The most recent scandal that has ruffled feathers at Maasai Mara University (Narok County) in Kenya is a clear proof of the sorry state of corruption in Kenya. The citizen television expose on Sunday which was dubbed “The Mara Heist” revealed how the university’s management is believed to have misappropriated kshs 190 million.
All is not lost though. There is a glimmer of hope since some patriotic whistle blowers have put their lives on the line to stop this corruption train. I personally hail them. If you and I turned the pointing finger then we would easily realize that by keeping mum in the face of corruption we also take part in committing the offence. Let all of us say no to this vice that is eating into the very intestines of the country whose independence our forefathers fought for.