By Albert Nyakundi Amenya – Banana Peddler, The County of Kisii.
Last Week, while on a trip to The United States, I shared seats with an American dogsbody named Chris Howard. Comrade Howard was journeying five African countries namely Zambia, Tanzania, Nigeria, Niger and South Africa.
The dude works for an NGO but was on his feasibility study across these countries.
No sooner had I introduced myself than Howard asked me something that rattled my conscience.
“All these stuff I read and hear about missing billions of shillings under the Uhuru administration, is it really true that these billions of shillings are missing and stolen, just like that?”From the way I looked lost, you could tell the countenance in my body language. Although I lacked a befitting answer for my friend, my expression gave me away as I answered in the affirmative.
He then added, “Is the Uhuru administration that porous to enable such a huge sleaze?”
As I felt the discussion more discomforting, and the fact that a guilty conscience needs no accuser, I quickly cut him short and asked him if it was his first time in Africa and in so doing, I successfully changed the topic.
Although I had gained a momentary reprieve, I never stopped chewing over Howard’s questions all through the flight. That day I realized that a day of sorrow is longer than a month of joy. The situation I went through in that plane is one which several Kenyans face world over so worse that even the most credited of tyrants like Mugabe can freely throw jabs at us over the abhorrent levels of corruption.
The more reason I concur with Adolf Hitler, “Sooner will a camel pass through a needle’s eye than a great leader be ‘discovered’ by an election.”
I agree that ours is a porous polity effortlessly manipulated for egocentric motives. The real frustration is the carefree attitude of the individuals who are supposed to be concerned about the skyrocketing levels of corruption, misuse of public funds, embezzlement and outright stealing that is currently going on in the country.
Just recently, President Kenyatta’s most powerful Cabinet Secretary and right hand ‘man’ Anne Waiguru played porker with Kenyans by dropping one of the most preposterous clangers. After pilfering from the coffers, the ‘Prime Minister’ acted self-whistleblower after realizing that Kenyans were too smart to be beguiled.
Sadly, when Kenyans reported to her ‘BOSS’ that she had been caught stealing, he said that the issue of corruption against his worker bee was overblown. Overblown indeed!
At a time when tax payer’s money is missing from a certain sector, your dear president says the allegation is overblown. In other countries, if you are mentioned in public malpractice, nobody asks you to step aside. You do it automatically without being coerced. It is only here in Kenya where they steal from you and expect you to carry on as if nothing matters. This administration is running public offices like fiefdoms. To them, everything about public offices is shredded in deceit and secrecy.
Waiguru steals and the only hope the President tells the people he is supposed to protect is “Accept and move on” If that is not a sign of irresponsibility and negligence, then dictionary makers should rebase the word itself. For how long will we continue to get the ugly side of leadership – from top to bottom, a country where nonchalance clouds every public office on daily basis?
But honestly, it does not take rocket science to fix these things. Kenyans wants to see their leader fighting corruption. Because a watched pot never boils, they want to see his body language radiating and manifesting it. This is a simple case of leading by example. As I always say in these forums – both print and electronic media – it takes just a click on the computer to know the salaries of the US President and the members of the Congress.
But here in Kenya, not even on demand will anyone tell you all the jumbo amounts of money taken home by the President and these other fellows that are paid to shout ‘aye’ and ‘nay’ three times a week in the National Assembly.
Despite the fact that our National Budget has been reduced to just an annual ritual, they are now telling us that ours is the strongest economy in East and Central Africa. According to them, whether we like or not, we must swallow the story despite the fact that it does not reflect the wellbeing of our countrymen.
President Uhuru has forgotten that a good name is better than a good face. He has messed up all institutions in this country. In fact, the only lucky institution that remains dismantled by Uhuru is his family. The other day Mugabe warned Zimbabwe citizenry against emulating Kenya’s corruption tendencies.
Before we castigate Mugabe by launching diplomatic diatribes, we must be bold enough to tell ourselves the truth. We must accept the exactness that we are indeed a stinkingly corrupt people and that a thousand and one diplomatic rows will never change the impression or fact in the ground.
Long story short, I wish to remind President Kenyatta and other African leaders that beauty is the wisdom of women and Wisdom is the beauty of men. It’s time African leaders began to exhibit transparency, even if in minimal quantity, when conducting our nation’s affairs so that next time when a factotum like Chris Howard pose such a humiliating question on me, I confidently put them in their place without any fear or favor.