2. Corruption Should be Legalized
Corruption has been called so many derogatory names in Kenya that its surprising that it continues to thrive at all; evil, cancer, monster et cetera. The most romanticized description of corruption was that made in 2003 by Justice Aaron Ringera, who then went on to become an ineffective head of the anti-corruption commission, “Corruption is a dragon with numerous tentacles; (when it is attacked) it is bound to snort, jump, kick and even attack back, for corruption always fights back. We have no option but to seize it by the horns and slay it.” The vice is so normalized that I fail to understand why we pretend to fight it at all
The anti-corruption commission is so ineffective that in the last ten years, they have managed to successfully prosecute a sum total of 3 people. All small fish, whose grievous crime was to stand alongside the highway in uniform and ask for Ksh 50 from motorists. People whom Shaniqua could have dealt with easily. Compared to the amount of money the state allocates to the commission, we paid through the nose for those three prosecutions. Over the last 10 years we have spent over 17 billion on the commission. In 2014, the commission was allocated 1.8 billion and in 2015, they got 2.1 billion. And then without blinking an eye, they asked for additional 2.4 billion to fight corruption! For starters, some months ago, the commission suspended some of its staff accused of, you guessed it, corruption!
The solution is to allow everyone an equal chance to engage in corruption and let government tax it. Life would be much easier if you paid your bribe at the first police check you encounter that day and got a receipt so that you wont have to stop at other roadblocks. Those are not my words, they are Mutahi Ngunyi,’s. In 2000, he coauthored a report, appropriately titled ‘Liberalizing the Bandit Economy“,
"In the last 10 years or so, corruption and crime have become the fourth factors of production in Kenya. The only problem is that they are yet to be liberalised and probably taxed. In my view, if we cannot get rid of corruption, we should probably liberalise it and make it available to all. We should subject it to the forces of supply and demand and make it affordable to every Kenyan. Bribing a judge for 'selective justice' should not be the preserve of the rich, for instance. A liberalised 'regime of bribes' in the judiciary, the police force and within government should be instituted so that all Kenyans can benefit from 'buying' the services of these institutions. This argument may sound far-fetched, but when we consider how much the "Bandit Economy" generates through crime and corruption, then we might just understand why our economy is in such a mess and why we should either deal with corruption and crime or be given an equal opportunity to partake in them. Of course not literally!”
For those who may take this too literary, he was referring to the fact that corruption was becoming so normalized that it is impossible to fight. 15 years later, I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of top government officials not tainted by a tentacle of the great dragon.
- Kibaki Will Plunge the Country into Civil War
Political scientists, sociologists, and anthropologists and every professional whose title ends with -ist agree that the 2008 post-election violence was a disaster that had been waiting for a trigger. But it is so easy to look back at events and see how unavoidable they were. The real challenge is to look into the future and see the unavoidable events that will happen. That is what Mutahi Ngunyi did. Again in 2003. In the same article where he said Kibaki will not hand over power, this is what he said next.
“At the risk of sounding crazy, I want to suggest the following: If we thought that Mr. Moi would plunge the country into civil strife, he proved us wrong. Narc (Then Kibaki’s Party) is the party to plunge the country into civil strife. You just have to listen to the FM stations and the call-in television programmes to see a pattern. From the name of the caller, you can almost predict what they will say and what side of the divide they will take. In a disputed election, such polarity would certainly take ugly proportions.”
The only way Mutahi Ngunyi sounds crazy is because it all happened. Including the FM stations thing. To predict two events in precise terms in one paragraph is genius. This is unlike
prophets such Awour whose prophesies are put in such ambiguous terms that they could mean anything to anyone. Predicting that there will be an earthquake or a tsunami somewhere in the world is no rocket science. The planet is engineered in such a way that frequently, it will throw up something that will murder its inhabitants. In software engineering, that is called a design flaw. The only way to rectify the flaw is to update the thing and restart it. Does anybody know where the control panel for the planet is located?
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Paul Njuru is a resident contributor and the editor at Rasqoh.com