Blame game won’t end cor­rup­tion

There is no such thing then as cor­rup­tion among the Ju­bilee or Cord coun­ties. There is only one state, which holds the con­sti­tu­tional re­spon­si­bil­ity to pro­tect the pub­lic in­ter­est

The Star (Kenya) - - Front Page - OKETCH KENDO Com­mu­ni­ca­tions con­sul­tant and univer­sity lec­turer

When thugs raid bank vaults, in­ves­ti­ga­tors should not be track­ing the se­cu­rity guards who were at the scene of crime five years ago. They should be­gin in­ves­ti­ga­tions with the guards who stand sen­try.

Blame-shar­ing can­not wash an­ar­chic man­age­ment of pub­lic funds. The cha­rade of par­ti­san buck-pass­ing, es­pe­cially the of­fi­cial claim of skewed op­po­si­tion con­dem­na­tion of cor­rup­tion, is an ab­surd endorsement of im­punity. It af­firms of­fi­cial sur­ren­der to the po­lit­i­cally cor­rect lords of eco­nomic crimes.

The war on cor­rup­tion is not about con­demn­ing eco­nomic crimes. Bal­anced cen­sure of sleaze is not the an­ti­dote for cor­rup­tion. Right-think­ing cit­i­zens de­mand much more than crit­i­cism of cor­rup­tion.

There is no such thing then as cor­rup­tion among Ju­bilee or Cord coun­ties. There is only one state, which holds the con­sti­tu­tional re­spon­si­bil­ity to se­cure the pub­lic in­ter­est.

There is only one gov­ern­ment with the man­date to stop plun­der of pub­lic funds. We only have one na­tional gov­ern­ment that man­ages pub­lic af­fairs. There is also one elected gover­nor in each of the 47 coun­ties who is ac­count­able to the elec­torate. The sour and soar­ing of­fi­cial ex­cuses are di­ver­sion­ary.

The Pres­i­dent of­ten cites ‘my gov­ern­ment’. The Deputy Pres­i­dent of­ten talks of ‘our gov­ern­ment’ to as­sert au­thor­ity or claim credit. Tak­ing credit for wins should come with the courage to take re­spon­si­bil­ity for fail­ures.

Politi­cis­ing cor­rup­tion in or­der to di­vert pub­lic at­ten­tion is fool­hardy. The skewed dis­tinc­tion be­tween Cord or Ju­bilee coun­ties when it comes to graft is also cor­rupt and di­verts at­ten­tion from of­fi­cial lethargy in the war on cor­rup­tion.

The op­po­si­tion can ex­pose and con­demn. They can also cen­sure sus­pects of eco­nomic crimes. This is about all they can do be­cause they lack the where­withal to go be­yond con­dem­na­tion. Ask­ing the op­po­si­tion to fight cor­rup­tion in the coun­ties which their gov­er­nors con­trol is ab­di­ca­tion of man­date.

The gov­ern­ment should go be­yond con­dem­na­tion. That Ju­bilee griot Aden Daule is still stuck in the con­dem­na­tion mode af­firms of­fi­cial help­less­ness, or com­plic­ity, in as­cen­dant im­punity.

The op­po­si­tion have cen­sured sus­pects of eco­nomic crimes for four years now. They ex­posed the Eurobond cir­cus, where bil­lions of shillings from off­shore bor­row­ing may have been lost.

The op­po­si­tion ral­lied the elec­torate against the Na­tional Youth Ser­vice scan­dals where Sh1.6 bil­lion is be­lieved to have been lost. Much of the loot was carted away in sacks from pro­tected banks, but the sus­pects are still strut­ting on the cat­walk of im­punity. Deputy Pres­i­dent Wil­liam Ruto is la­ment­ing; the peas­ants are also la­ment­ing.

The op­po­si­tion also ex­posed the al­leged loot­ing of Sh5.2 bil­lion at the Min­istry of Health, even as Ju­bilee-af­fil­i­ated politi­cians de­fended the al­leged theft. The gen­der of sus­pects is ir­rel­e­vant. There should be no jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for crim­i­nal­ity. When op­po­si­tion leader Raila Odinga ex­posed the NYS scan­dal two years ago, there was of­fi­cial de­nial. Duale, in griot mode, saw the whit­sle-blow­ing as a plot to ‘’bring down the gov­ern­ment’’.

He de­fended then Devo­lu­tion CS Anne Waig­uru like his life de­pended on a coverup. But it was im­pos­si­ble to fight facts with lies. When Waig­uru re­signed, thanks to Raila’s pres­sure, she fin­gered Duale as a ben­e­fi­ciary of the NYS scam. Her ini­tial of­fi­cial de­fender is now one of her ac­cusers. But Duale is yet to learn from the fum­ble, even as his co-griot, Sen­a­tor Kipchumba Murkomen, strug­gles to re­move him­self from the trap of cor­rup­tion.

Ex­po­sure is the first step in the war on graft, and the op­po­si­tion has done that. The next step should be ro­bust in­ves­ti­ga­tions, ar­rests, pros­e­cu­tions, con­vic­tions or ac­quit­tals. The state should fa­cil­i­tate this.

The eco­nomic crimes laws are not a hur­dle. The in­de­pen­dence of the investigative and pros­e­cu­tion agen­cies is not an ex­cuse. The law can be changed to ad­vance the pub­lic in­ter­est. The pres­i­dency has con­trol over leg­isla­tive num­bers.

It can, if it mus­tered the will, orig­i­nate leg­isla­tive amend­ments to fa­cil­i­tate the war on eco­nomic crimes.

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