It’s a pity that recent news coverage has placed so much focus on the 2022 General Election at the expense of development.
Three years to the next polls, the country is already in campaign mood and if the trend is not checked, most leaders may not achieve what they promised the electorate slightly over a year-and-a-half ago.
American author and theologian James Freeman Clarke wrote: “A politician thinks of the next election; a statesman thinks of the next generation”. Sadly, it appears we have more politicians than statesmen.
However, President Uhuru Kenyatta is one such statesman. Beyond the loud noises, he is busy working on projects that will improve the living standards of the common mwananchi going by his Big Four agenda pillars: housing, food security, manufacturing and affordable health. He also wants to rid our country of one of its most serious plagues: corruption.
Recent reports show that some unscrupulous businesspeople in Nairobi have been running a sophisticated tax-evasion scheme. This is where business owners meet and register businesses as “small traders”, meaning they are exempted from declaring imported goods.
Then they import goods, put them into one cargo container and declare them as transit. However, once the goods arrive in the country, they are secretly offloaded thereby owners evade to pay taxes.
In other words, well-connected businessmen have been sneaking goods into the country at the expense of the common man, and the government. As a result, the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) has been losing billions in revenues annually.
The President recently went to Embakasi Inland Container depot after complaints by traders. But even after ordering clearance of goods confiscated at the terminal, he supported KRA’s seizure of more than 1,000 cargo containers.
He said consolidation of goods in containers is outright theft. This shows that Uhuru is not only committed to eliminating graft cartels, but also discouraging economic crimes.
The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) is also investigating 14 county governments over misuse of public funds in the last financial year.
Bringing to light those who are responsible for corruption is imperative to Uhuru’s ongoing campaign to end graft. By not paying taxes, or by transferring public funds into personal accounts, the culprits are responsible for poor services.
We have started seeing greater accountability and transparency, the effects of which will most certainly be felt for years to come.
The ongoing anti-corruption campaign marks a significant transformation in the the management of public funds and if the momentum is sustained, Kenya can go far.
Before Kenyans get caught up in the 2022 race, let’s not lose sight of what is important right now — fighting corruption and using the money that is recovered from corrupt individuals to achieve development goals. —The writer is former Dagoretti South MP