September 20th 2017

Opinion / Commentaries

Turn your abhorrence of corruption into action, or forever keep your peace

Our governors have taken the lion's share of our sweat, our executive has stolen more to sustain the siting government's face-off with the opposition, and the opposition has stolen so that they can match the throw from the government's side.

By Mithika Daniel Impwimithikadaniel@gmail.comTuesday, 06 Dec 2016 15:07 EAT

Just yesterday, I read from our most informative and authoritative media that 273 members of parliament have squandered Sh3.85 billion in the Constituency Development Fund (CDF). I said within my heart, ‘Because there wasn't more’. That is very little to take from such a hardworking population. They spared them (Kenyans) as if the county governments and the executive do so too. Whom were they scared of?

When we, the people, accepted that our elections are to be the most expensive thing in this country, when we accepted that, however qualified one is, to get a job we must know some faces, when we accepted that we cannot protect ourselves, someone must do it for us, that as long as our people are stealing, stealing is no longer a crime, that it is fine, if the perpetrator is our clan or tribe, that few people will decide our destiny - then, dear countrymen, corruption is our fair portion.

We are unfair to ourselves and that social media hype on condemnation of corruption is hypocritical and stupid. How else do you expect us to live? If people want to be elected because they are rich, because they can give as much in harambees as you need, because they can pay people to strategize, execute and deliver on a plan to win votes, then, it's their money we elected. We may have barred leaders from leadership long ago. Or who of us can go for a political meeting to plan anything, to execute anything of the plan, without pay?

You will feel bad if I say that it were better if all politicians are provided with money to support logistics and print materials only for campaign, and that any other money spent is illegal. That political planning meetings be done only within the area of representation and that there should be no sponsoring of the attendants for drinks, food and accommodation because, politicians should meet the people from where they are based. A typical Kenyan will be first to oppose such a suggestion vehemently. If that were the case, few people would be interested in attending, even fewer would be interested to vie for any seat. The rich would not even waste their time either.

If the elected leaders would have fair remuneration, in essence, commensurate to their work and sensible allowances, this work would be left for the leaders. Even better, if the people in positions were not allowed to contribute to public 'harambees' in material value, but to mobilise the community to it with the support of friends, people would change their perspective on the elected leaders. Better still, if we decide how to be served, who should be helped, what should be done, the elected leaders cannot dictate on what a people want.

Lastly, if to Kenyans, power means money, then those in power will steal to retain it. Why won't they? Our governors have taken the lion's share of our sweat, our executive has stolen more to sustain the siting government's face-off with the opposition, and the opposition has stolen so that they can match the throw from the government's side.

The vicious cycle of corruption continues and we can only scream at it. No one can sincerely speak against it. Even if they are made of steal. Who? The clergy or the civil society? The sovereign power rest on the people, and that power is exercised upon us as we wish. So corruption is ours by design or default and our MPs are justified to steal in order to impress us.

The writer, a graduate of Kenyatta University, is a contributing reporter for the Kenya Free Press based in Meru County.





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