Kenya may not successfully implement its Big Four Agenda should the government fail to tame the runaway corruption, US Ambassador to Kenya Kyle McCarter has said.
Ambassador McCarter said graft has become common in Kenya that citizens appear to give power to individuals with the hope being given something big in return.
“It seems normal in Kenya for someone to offer you a bribe or share crooked deal and it goes without being condemned,” said Mr McCarter.
Speaking at Mwangaza Primary School in Lurambi sub-county, Kakamega County, on Saturday, the US envoy said in Kenya, leaders accused of corruption and serious economic crimes have found it easier to get elected to public offices than people of impeccable records.
The diplomat called for conviction of individuals who engage in graft.
“We are nurturing the young generation into a bad nation. We are making them think that taking something that is not yours is not bad,” he stated.
He asked the leadership of the country to wake up to the reality that if corruption is not firmly condemned, it will be difficult to realise the implementation of the ambitious Big Four Agenda.
The government is focused on delivering to its citizens affordable housing, food security, universal healthcare and enhanced manufacturing.
“We need to take the war on corruption seriously, punish thieves who steal from the poor to make themselves wealthier. It is time they stepped aside,” the US envoy said.
“We should not allow an unethical culture to invade on our public space, communities should stop protecting their people who engage in corruption,” he added.
According to McCarter, the US is committed to assist Kenya fight corruption if proper systems are put in place.
He called on Kenyans to get seriously bothered with the social evil since it is them who bear the brunt of corruption.
President Uhuru Kenyatta has admitted that corruption poses a great risk not only to his legacy but to the future of the country’s economy.
He has put in place measures to fight the evil by strengthening the offices of the Director of Public Prosecutions, Directorate of Criminal Investigations, Inspector General of Police, Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission and the Attorney General.
The President has further introduced demonetisation and ordered lifestyle audits and vetting of procurement officers in his efforts to tame graft.
The envoy called on Kenyans to stop entertaining people who grab what belongs to them to enrich themselves.
“The campaign to end corruption lies in the hands of the Kenyan voters and the Judiciary, young people should lead in saying no to corruption,” he said.
Lurambi MP Titus Khamala who hosted the diplomat called for punitive measures to end graft.
“If we have an opportunity for a referendum, we must guard our national revenue and create laws that will wipe out corruption that has left our schools ill-equipped, youths jobless, wanting infrastructure, factories collapsed and hospitals ill equipped,” said Mr Khamala.
The lawmaker accused courts of giving an impression that the those in power and the rich can escape justice by using their ill-gotten money to frustrate legal processes.