Does corruption in Kenya come full circle with entry into politics?

Corruption has become part and parcel of the Kenyans society. Little known public officials become instant celebrities the moment they are linked to corruption scandals. In an article titled “The predictable nature of corruption in Kenya, ” Africa Blogging guest author Brenda Wambui talks about the seven stages corruption suspects go through; the reveal, the outrage, the denial, the pretense of justice, the getting away with it, the rehabilitation and finally the political career.

The political system in Kenya rewards the rich and famous – mostly without questioning the source of fame or wealth. This provides a favorable ground for the corrupt to rise up to political positions and gain influence that will provide them with an opportunity to either circumvent the legal process or gain immunity from prosecutions.

In certain parts of the world, people undergoing investigations for corruption or abuse of office would never be elected to hold any public office. In Kenya, the situation is quite the opposite.

President Uhuru Kenyatta (L) and Deputy President William Ruto (R) at a past public event. The two were accused of committing crimes against humanity in the 2007 post election violence.

In 2013, Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto were elected President and Deputy President despite facing international crime charges which included murder, rape and forceful transfer of populations at the International Criminal Court at The Hague.

The cases against the two were dropped within their first term for what in part the ICC termed as “lack of cooperation” from the Kenyan Government (headed by Uhuru Kenyatta) and “witness tampering.”

William Ruto has fought hard to disassociate himself with the term “land grabber,” but two cases stuck with him. The first was a case finalized in 2013 in which he was ordered to pay Ksh. 5 million to a post election violence victim whose land he had occupied illegally.

In the just concluded election, two former Cabinet Secretaries (CS) in Kenyatta’s administration who were hounded out of office due to corruption allegations were elected as Governors.

Former Lands Cabinet Secretary Charity Ngilu at the Milimani Law Courts on July 13, 2015. Ngilu is now the new Kitui County Governor.

Charity Kaloki Ngilu who was a CS in the Ministry of Lands and Housing was kicked out of President Kenyatta’s cabinet over a Ksh. 8 billion land scandal in the upmarket suburb of Karen in Nairobi.

Ngilu was on August 8th elected as Governor of the County of Kitui.

Former Devolution and Planning CS Anne Waiguru is now the new Governor of Kirinyaga County. Waiguru was forced to resign from government following a Ksh. 791 million scandal in her ministry.

Anne Waiguru was CS for Devolution and Planning until the National Youth Service department in her ministry was entangled in a Ksh. 791 million scandal with her at the center. After several weeks of inquiry by parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC), it emerged that the country could have lost up to Ksh. 1.8 billion in an elaborate scam. Waiguru was never indicted or arraigned to face charges.

Before their eventual plunge into the world of politics, the various government officials mentioned in this article faced various forms of investigations from government bodies with some even facing court action.

In her article, Brenda Wambui refers to the investigations and subsequent prosecutions as “the pretense of justice.” She says:

Tribunals/committees/commissions of inquiry are formed, and investigations proceed promising justice to Kenyans for the vast sums of money that have undoubtedly gone missing….At this point, it is important for the people tasked with solving the issue to blame factors beyond their control and ask for more time, hoping (this has proven to be a very successful strategy) that we forget after some time.

– Brenda Wambui

Whether they were all culpable in the accusations leveled against them is an issue we can’t independently make a pronouncement on, but it is definitely obvious that they all used their legal woes and allegations levied against them to rally their support bases around their personal goals. This cycle unless willfully broken by the conscious Kenyan voter will continue rewarding those who plunder our public resources with more lucrative government positions.

Daniel Okoth
Daniel Okoth
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