Saturday, December 4, 2010




By Patrick L Opondi

December 1 2010

St Paul, Minnesota

Kenya, the capital of corruption and drugs? Oh no! We tinker on the brinks of collapse, a failed state. Though ordinary Kenyans are known to be hard working and have shown restraints and resilience, it cannot be business as usual to watch our beloved country flip amidst growing accusations and counter accusations of graft and decay in government. And it is not the rot in public offices which is worrying; the country is being flooded by dangerous drugs threatening the future of our children.

Has the government abdicated it's role to protect her people and resources, a trust we pass on to leaders every five years of election? The growth and magnitude of corruption is partly because the very government charged with the responsibility to manage our resources is part and parcel of the intricate web that is fleecing poor people, hiding behind the ignorance of the masses. We have become bold, enough to see corruption as very normal. The givers are not ashamed and the takers are thrilled. It is business done in the open, touching even on the police who should be on the watch against it. Where is the long arm of the law, to purge corruption and the country being saturated with narcotics? Crime has shortened the long arm of the law, rendering toothless and 'harmless'.

It is not about modest pay by government officers to engage in corruption but all about the flamboyant culture of greed and exhibition that has taken root on our people. Corruption is a symptom of indiscipline, rot, evil and it dilutes the image of an institution yet the vice continues to thrive up to the highest executive level.

Our ministers are named in shameful deals, temporarily asked to step aside before being asked to join the cabinet. Stepping aside has now become a political language, likely to mean “go on vacation and wait for things to cool off”. No, they are not punished severely to deter others.

Protecting senior government officers and cabinet for political reasons has all along sent a very long signal, down to the clerical level. Political correctness and votes has diluted the efforts on the fight against corruption, allowing the vice to spiral to unmanageable level. Growing unperturbed, corruption has marred the image of the country and increased the burden on poor people tenfold. Investors are wary to invest in a country where they will be fleeced, where the image of their institutions will be dragged in a chain of corrupt deals. No professional manager would want to smell like a skunk, messed up with underhand activities. The fear to invest has resulted to poor growth, lost job opportunities and loss of colossal revenue earnings by various organs of government. A government that abets corruption therefore becomes a burden and the people associated with running its affair to do not deserve to be in leadership. It can no longer be business as usual, when poor people are chocked with the burden of subsidizing the lifestyle of a few selfish individuals.

Related to corruption and even more catastrophic is the recent revelation that Kenya is a major conduit root to drugs. Corruption and drugs are birds of the same feathers, for drugs will thrive under greed, indiscipline and poor surveillance. We are on the spot because the Police, customs officers and Kenya ports Authority officers have been sucked into the vice through corruption and greed. Work values and inherent dangers of allowing the country to swamp with drugs is a non issue, compared to the direct benefit accrued by those involved. Where are work values and ethics? Disturbing images of people going to waste because of the harmful effects of drugs particularly at the coast region are in circulation, yet our government officers have turned a blind eye, cashing on their plight.Drug related problems will weigh down our poor health services, already chocking under corruption too.

Can we continue to pay individuals who are incompetent, sleep on the job yet their actions is directly destroying lives? A government exists, to protect the vulnerable, check crime and not just to earn taxes. Money earned from tax payers must be put in good use instead of offering citizens lips services. Unfortunately, the verdict on the government is that of failure and unnecessary excuses.

It is time we demanded for a government worth the value of the taxes they collect. It is time people of Kenya woke up to realities of life, challenging the vices and inadequacies that are creeping in the management of our public offices.
Allowing the country to be swamped with drugs under corruption will see crime spiral and in turn, there will be mass exodus of investments to other stable regions. Let us save our nation from the brink of collapse, a self instigated instability.