The recent Kenya Youth Survey Report revelation that 30 per cent of youth in the country don’t have qualms with corruption is worrying.
Lack of strong measures to deter the increasing incidences of corruption in the country has institutionalised the vice.
And with the reports emerging that a well organised and operated cartel has infiltrated the Judiciary, the fountain of justice, things are getting even worse as we move closer to elections.
So many people today find themselves in states that compel them to give bribes.
There is a growing belief that with the very few actions taken against graft perpetrators, it has become a convenient way of life.
As a country, we must now have a sober and honest conversation on how to move ahead to tackle this greatest obstacle to economic prosperity.
Although the country has created numerous institutions, with the enactment of the 2010 constitution, to deal with corruption, The Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index has ranked us poorly in successive years.
In 2014 for instance, Kenya was ranked at position 145 out of the 175 countries surveyed.
Also World Bank judged us harshly and estimates that over 250,000 jobs are lost through corruption in Kenya each year.
It is evidently clear that the country must fix its institutions to tackle corruption.
Such a huge number of our largest constituent, 78 per cent of Kenya’s population precisely, affirming that they would not mind to engage in corruption to better their life is sign of a poorly crafted economy.
An economy that does not offer sufficient ways to tap potential of its youthful population, forcing them to consider short cuts that have worked for their colleague’s prosperity.
The poor performance by the anti graft agency has exposed its inadequacies to deal with the corruption.
The agency appears to lack enough resources commensurate to the gravity of the corruption in Kenya.
The agency should be given a good budgetary allocation to enable it employ the resources needed to carry out investigation, especially those of international nature.
Sufficient resources will also enable the agency to monitor activities of county governments, which are handling huge national resources that have seen them emerge as the fresh frontiers of corruption.
WEAK ANTI-CORRUPTION AGENCIES
Currently, Ethics and Anti- Corruption Commission (EACC) is only mandated to investigate corruption cases and make recommendations to the Director of Public Prosecution based on the evidence they get.
Looking at the low number of cases that have been successfully investigated and prosecuted, it is clear that the two institutions mandates have not complimented each other effectively.
Although the opinion has been divided on whether to give EACC both investigative and prosecutorial powers, the poor performance of the complimentary roles with DPP gives credence to attempt to give this proponent a trial.
A multi-sectoral approach bringing together the public, private sector, civil society organisations and other institutions to execute successful programmes against graft is also necessary.
This will increase awareness of the causes and consequences of corruption and build capacity of the public to prevent and tackle the vice.
One of the major challenges of victory against corruption in the past has been cited as lack of a strong political goodwill.
However, the good intention of the President to fight graft is undeniable.