Fight against graft is all drama and no substance

Thursday, February 20th, 2020 00:46 |
DCI boss George Kinoti. Photo/PD/FILE

We are a really amazing country. Well, so far, I have been true to my New Year resolution of not writing about Kenyan politics. Soon, I will also stop writing about corruption.

The bile one produces from eating sour grapes is just not worth it. And, since it seems we can’t beat them, maybe I should just join in the ongoing Black Sabbath. 

Last week, we were treated to yet another soap opera surrounding the Sh39 billion defence equipment procurement scam.

The enviable Directorate of Criminal Investigation had, yet again, cornered some scammers just before they swindled hapless Kenyans off their sweat and tears.

But who is fooling who? Kenyans know the script will be the same, for the umpteenth time. Politicians will hog the media space, with one divide crying wolf, and the other baying for its adversary’s blood.

But the main act will star the Judiciary, where injustice will be served with sumptuous gobbledygook. The files of this particular case will be piled on top of tens of others gathering dust for years at the office of the Chief Justice.

The dust will soon settle, and it will be business as usual. The con artists will be back on the prowl, following the scent of cash to any nook and cranny. 

Meanwhile, like Courage the Cowardly Dog, Kenyans will either be watching from a distance, lest they get in the line of fire, or they will throw their weight behind their political messiahs, hoping to get a morsel from the spoils.

The perfect analogy I have heard in recent times on corruption is from former MP and lawyer Martha Karua, when a local radio station hosted her. She aptly noted that Kenyans have adopted a damaging fallacy about the magnanimous thief – one who steals and gives back.

If you believe there is a good thief, you should also let the village chicken thief steal your chicken, proceed to cook it, and then give you the tasteless parts to eat. That’s what your billionaire virtuous thief does, as you hail him or her to high heavens. 

Kenyans have become immune to trauma. Even the Forbes rich list would be envious of the kind of money being bandied for the sale of hot air. Scandal after another, the country is hurtling down to the abyss of anarchy.

To paraphrase the lyrics of  Bob Marley’s Redemption Song, how long shall they loot our coffers while we stand aside and look? Some say it’s just a price to pay, we’ve got to learn the hard way… 


No one doubts the power of prayer. Unfortunately, in Kenya prayer has become a veritable replacement for work. Now, it was not exactly reassuring to read the statement of Kenya’s Ambassador to China, Sarah Serem, last week, on the plight of Kenyan students stuck in Wuhan, the epicentre of the devastating novel Coronavirus.

While other countries are working diligently to evacuate their citizens who might be potential victims of the virulent virus, Serem has given us the impression that she is a sitting duck holding a Bible, busy casting a spell on the Coronavirus evil spirit!

I am angry and sympathetic at the same time. Maybe she is not getting any communication or support from the home office, but she cannot obviously sell out. However, she has a job to do, and she needs to do it.

Expecting an overwhelmed China to baby sit us through this crisis is daydreaming. We are the ones who should be seeking innovative solutions to help China contain the virus. Who knows, may be the Kenya Medical Research Institute could whip up something really fast. Right now, China is a friend in need.   

—The writer is a communication expert, and public policy analyst. [email protected]

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