The recent spate of corruption cases highlighted in the media is not only alarming but depressing and demoralizing for millions of Kenyans who make an honest living and faithfully pay taxes only for corrupt individuals to benefit through dubious means.

The Kenya Alliance of Resident Associations (KARA) is extremely concerned at the brazen manner in which few individuals went about looting public coffers with the knowledge and facilitation of those entrusted with the role of protecting public property.

In mid February this year while presiding over the swearing-in of Cabinet Secretaries, President Uhuru Kenyatta was very categorical that it was going to be business unusual and challenged the Cabinet Secretaries to give way should they fail to deliver on expectations. We now call upon the President to walk the talk and crack the whip on corruption. He must demonstrate firm political will to fight corruption and personally champion this cause. There has been too much talk and threats against corruption to the extent that the perpetrators of the vice have become bolder knowing very well that nothing much will happen to them. In the absence of bold and decisive action from the President, Kenyans should brace themselves for more mega scandals in the government.

The achievement of the Big 4 agenda is certainly threatened by the high level of corruption and there is very high likelihood that there will be nothing to show at the end of five years if the current wave of corruption is not effectively tamed. Kenyans want to see high ranking people in government at the level of Cabinet Secretaries being made to take responsibility for the failings in their docket and if found culpable, sentenced to serve jail term.

The President must support and promote lifestyle audits for government officers and leaders as a basis for holding them to account for changes in their economic status. Additionally, the President must demand that institutions charged with investigative rolls such as National Intelligence Service, Directorate of Criminal Investigations and Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission, exercise their mandate professionally and not agree to be used to shield the real corruption culprits.

We also call upon the judiciary to step up its role in the fight against corruption. In 2016, the Chief Justice, David Maraga launched an Anti-Corruption and Economic Crime Division aimed at ensuring expeditious disposal of cases involving corruption and economic crimes. We still have several undetermined corruption cases even after the launch and such delays will only make perpetrators of corruption to act with more impunity and boldness.

Firm action should also be taken against private sector players who abet corruption. The National Youth Services scandal could not have been possible without the involvement of banks which knew something was wrong but took no action. The banks should be publicly named and made to account for their action.
It is time to take the fight against corruption more seriously and all stakeholders must play their part. The President must come out as the champion against this fight.

Henry Ochieng
Chief Executive Officer