President Uhuru declared corruption a 'National Security Threat'
Fraud in public procurement has become endemic and corruption has permeated all nooks and crevices of society to a point where it has become ‘permissible’
One of the institutions that is supposed to be in the forefront of the fight against corruption is itself mired in endless corruption claims.
The Kenya Police has constantly held the unwanted top spot of ‘most corrupt’ institution in Kenya. So bad is the murk that to get service from the police, one has to part with a bribe in many instances.
A spot check in Kajiado County painted a picture of an upset populace.
“The scarce nature of the resources available is the root of corruption,” lamented one young man.
He continued to say that “When there is monopoly of the little resources available, people are inclined to be corrupt in order to get access.”
An equally irritated lady stated “Corruption makes the gap between the rich and the poor become so big because only those people with money can take advantage of opportunities.”
Among the groups frustrated and exasperated by the seeming inability of any institution or group to halt corruption is the youth. They have been among the leading voices against the voice citing it as among the contributors to their major woes like unemployment.
However, the youth have also been caught up in the seemingly implacable web of corruption. A survey released by Aga Khan University, East African Institute showed that half of Kenyan youth condone corruption and adore successful beneficiaries of the vice.
“50 percent believe it doesn’t matter how one makes money as long as one does not end up in jail. 47 percent admire those who hook or crook, (including hustling). 30 percent believe corruption is profitable,” the survey asserted.
They survey further confirmed the worst fears of tackling widespread corruption in the society after it revealed that 35 percent of young people are comfortable with giving or receiving bribes.
It was also disturbing to see that only 40 percent of the young people appreciate the importance of paying taxes.
Obviously alive to the gravity of the situation, President Uhuru Kenyatta declared corruption a national security threat. This was a major shift on the war on corruption that had previously been perceived as an economic crime and an integrity issue.
On his visit to Kenya, Pope Francis did not mince his words; he said corruption is a path to death. Former United States President Barack Obama underpinned the issue by reminding Kenyans that corruption costs the country 250,000 jobs annually.
It is obvious that corruption is the greatest evil in Kenya and whether or not a panacea is in the horizon is now just a waiting game.