Corruption: Our Law’s Loose Grip By Ken Ogembo

It is now be evident that the fight against corruption cannot be battled only in a court of law or by establishing a single oversight body to cover the over twenty ministries and other state bodies. There is a deliberate lack of good will, which will incapacitate any given single department or commission.

The fight against corruption in Kenya is too technical for any given commission; hence, there is need for a change in strategies. I suggest the establishment of a corruption watchdog unit in every ministry. The mandate should be to analyse corruption risk areas and take the required measures rather than the cliché advisory role. Unless otherwise, the looters may even deepen their loot as we are currently experiencing.

From the look of things, almost every project in government is scandalous. One wonders why no arrests have been made despite the 2014 police recruitment being marred by allegations of corruption. Of course, there is the usual promise of ongoing investigations. This is yet another closed file and Kenyans are supposed to forget and move on, only to be reminded by the occurrence of a new graft scandal.

The president then came up with a list of over 150 individuals alleged to be corrupt. However, the anti-graft body mandated to probe into those allegations is currently grounded. I feel that this may just be another PR (public relations) exercise. The persons named in the presidents ‘list of shame’ are still in office while the anti-graft body stays grounded. Hardly thirty of the over 150 people have been prosecuted. Even so, many of those cases do not meet the minimal threshold for prosecution. They thus remain to be mere allegations whereas the public continues to lose confidence in the integrity of public institutions.

Contravention of chapter six of the constitution of Kenya is common, with chairpersons of the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission often assuming office despite having allegations of impropriety and/or pending court cases. Since the establishment of the commission, Kenyans are yet to see any tangible fulfillment of the its mandate. The trend has been to embattle its chair, rendering its work impossible. Mumo Matemu’s exit is but another well-calculated strategy to brainwash the nation.

In Kenya, the political class (in both government and opposition) often have interests in corrupt transactions; thus diminishing any chances that they will expose each other. The person most likely to protect these interests has higher chances of becoming the next chair. Otherwise, the cycle continues.

The fight against corruption in Kenya clearly lacks political good will. The president needs ensure that due process is followed in all public institutions. Those implicated in corruption must be made to account for their wrong doing. Why waste time ‘shaming’ people he hired and has the mandate to dismiss?

Kenyans must also understand that corruption has advanced to a point where the electorate must play a role. Let us not allow people mentioned in any scandal to address us in any public forum. Instead, we should insist that they first clear their names without going back to tribal cocoons. Since corruption is neither a political contest between the government and opposition nor a tribal war, let us not allow corrupt individuals to allege that they are being ‘hunted’.

Also, since most of these scandals seem to have by-passed the national cabinet, I see a need for the public to be granted access to cabinet’s minutes.

Lastly, religious organizations need to be consistently vocal in the fight against corruption.

Is South Sudan forgotten? By Scheaffer Okore.

More than a million people have fled their homes in South Sudan since fighting broke out between rebel forces and the government. President Salva Kiir blamed this on a coup attempt by a section of soldiers loyal to his deputy, Riek Machar.

This could be the beginning of yet another war gradually bringing Africa’s youngest state to its knees. After more than two decades of war, South Sudan seceded from Omar Al-bashir’s Northern Sudan; becoming Africa’s newest state.

However, South Sudan has had numerous setbacks in her quest for political autonomy and national development. Ethnic violence has escalated between Kiir’s Dinka tribe who are the majority Machar’s Nuer who are the second largest tribe. These violent tensions continue to frustrate political stability despite the numerous peace agreements signed between the two. There is thus raising doubt on the commitment of these political leaders in attaining peace.

Not only has the country lost hundreds of civilians to the clashes, South Sudan also faces an influx of diseases and the continued violation of women as well as dire food shortages and a disastrous drought.

Regardless, the occurrences in this young nation have ceased to raise headlines. East Africa seems to be ignorant of the spillover effects being experienced by the rest of the region. If the war continues, the East African region’s economic output could begin to experience negative consequences.

It is also important to remember that South Sudan has already put in a formal request to join the East African Community. This thus begs a simple yet equally complex set of questions.

  • Why are East African states not pushing for the political stability of South Sudan?
  • Who is benefiting from the instability in South Sudan?
  • Are the leaders of South Sudan bloodthirsty warmongers?
  • #IsSouthSudanForgotten?