The Star (Kenya) - - Politics -

T is not true to say that civil so­ci­ety and the gen­eral pub­lic have ig­nored and hardly talk about cor­rup­tion at the county level. It is true, how­ever, that cor­rup­tion in the na­tional gov­ern­ment has at­tracted the most at­ten­tion in re­cent years.

Whereas the na­tional gov­ern­ment is sad­dled with mega cor­rup­tion scan­dals, the gover­nors tend to dis­miss al­le­ga­tions of cor­rup­tion lev­eled against them with claims that they are part of the vast con­spir­acy by the cen­tre to sab­o­tage de­vo­lu­tion. The in­sti­tu­tions man­dated to fight cor­rup­tion are na­tional in char­ac­ter. Whether you are talk­ing about the EACC, the Direc­torate of Crim­i­nal In­ves­ti­ga­tions, the Of­fice of the Au­di­tor Gen­eral and the Con­troller of Bud­get, all are na­tional in char­ac­ter.

It is dif­fi­cult to fault the coun­ties and the cor­rup­tion un­der them when the in­sti­tu­tions charged with the task are reel­ing in con­fu­sion. These in­sti­tu­tions must get their act to­gether and fight cor­rup­tion at the level of the State as re­quired of them by the law. They have the con­sti­tu­tional obli­ga­tion to fight cor­rup­tion. The case of Kilifi is poignant. All in­di­ca­tions are the gov­er­nor is ready to co­op­er­ate to get to the bot­tom of this in­famy. He has pro­vided the doc­u­ments re­lated to the scan­dal, sus­pended those in­volved and called in in­ves­ti­ga­tors.

The cor­rup­tion al­le­ga­tions in Kilifi sound like the same story that we have heard about the Na­tional Youth Ser­vice. In­ves­ti­ga­tions about peo­ple who are well versed with the In­te­grated Fi­nan­cial Man­age­ment In­for­ma­tion Sys­tem (IFMIS) tak­ing ad­van­tage of the sys­tem to loot from the pub­lic must be done and those con­cerned brought to book.

Whereas coun­ties have a moral obli­ga­tion to fight graft, the na­tional gov­ern­ment must steer the war on cor­rup­tion to its log­i­cal con­clu­sion.

Cit­i­zens must ex­er­cise their power to en­sure that cor­rup­tion is elim­i­nated. They should stand up to be counted, picket, present pe­ti­tions and me­moranda to those in author­ity as one of the ways to ex­press their dis­plea­sure with high level cor­rup­tion. Cit­i­zen ac­tion is im­por­tant to push the anti-graft agen­cies to take ac­tion against the cul­prits. It was good to see demon­stra­tions in Kilifi de­mand­ing ac­count­abil­ity from the gov­er­nor over the scan­dal.

Cit­i­zen ac­tion is nec­es­sary and forms part of the ef­fort of fight­ing en­trenched cor­rup­tion, and it should be en­cour­aged.

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