Corruption cancer eats away societal pillars

Justus Njoroge

This past weekend, I travelled upcountry to meet my folks as part of the Easter celebrations. As is the case in my shags, a few of dad’s friends usually give us a visit.

As we were chit chatting, we discussed about the weather and how the neighborhood has benefited from the tree planting campaign by the late Prof. Wangari Maatha. Although there has not been rains for a while now, due to the higher concentration of trees per acre of land, there still remain a cool breeze and you don’t get to feel sweltering heat.

Within no time, the topic digressed to politics and how the current office bearers, from Member of the County Assembly(MCA), Member of Parliament, Women Representative, Senator, Governor and finally the president.

Clouded decisions

Confessions from all those present was that their decision for the candidate to vote for in the last election was mainly driven by money.

Who gave more during the campaigns? Who was generous enough? Who was a people’s person (in relation to how much he gave)? That was the candidate under consideration.

In the estimation, their current MCA could have probably spent up to Sh30 million to run his campaign. They dismissed a young man who vied for the same seat with great ideas on the guise that you can’t eat ‘empty words’.

Their current Member of County Assembly got elected as the chairman of the Finance committee in the county and was able to access many tenders for construction of roads both at his ward and the rest of the wards using his many proxy companies.

They acknowledge that this was expected as he needed to pay himself what he spent during the campaigns. Essentially, they don’t have a problem if their man is the one whose hand is in the cookie jar.

I believe this is replicated across all office holders in most of the counties. Last time I checked, the role of MCA is primarily legislation. But the electorate gauge his performance based on the “development” he does in the ward, and how generous he is. These are two things that might be difficult to achieve without engaging in corruption, unless you are extremely wealthy.

For the sake of our children

Are we as a society ensuring that corruption thrives through acts of commission and omission? What are we bequeathing to our children? Some of us complain about corruption, but deep in our hearts we have no qualm bribing a government official, to get off the hook from an alleged offence or get a tender or get paid for the same tender. We must learn to say no to corruption for the sake of our children.

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