Fighting graft starts with the Presidency

Friday February 27 2015

Energy Cabinet Secretary Davis Chirchir at Integrity Centre in Nairobi on February 20, 2015.

Energy Cabinet Secretary Davis Chirchir at Integrity Centre in Nairobi on February 20, 2015 after he was questioned by Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission detectives over the “chicken” scandal. PHOTO | MARTIN MUKANGU | NATION MEDIA GROUP

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The big three TV channels may be inaccessible but the horror stories of mega corruption keep rolling in. Every week we receive new revelations on scandals that can make you numb, depressed or even enraged if you still retain your sense of sanity and integrity.

Langata Primary School was left aside as news broke about Chickengate. This week we have been treated to leaks that indicate that some if not all the members of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) – our principal parliamentary oversight body — are at war with each other over what seems like unequal sharing of backhanders.

As I write, Goodyear Tyre Company has just surrendered $16 million to the Securities and Exchange Commission in the USA as repayment of illicit profits gained from tenders procured after bribing Angolan and Kenyan companies to the tune of $3.2 million between 2007 and 2011. Those implicated here include the Ministry of Defence, KPA, Nzoia Sugar, Kenya Air Force and Telkom Kenya. It just goes on and on.

Now it would appear that Kenyans are totally dependent on foreign jurisdictions to investigate and prosecute crimes that took place on Kenyan soil. Corruption of course involves two parties: the giver and receiver of bribes. But were it not for the British justice system we would never have known about Chickengate.

The Americans have educated us on “Rubbergate” and it seems that we are totally dependent on the Swiss Government to bring about any sort of closure on the Anglo Leasing scandals. Jersey courts of course still seek extradition orders for two more prominent figures on criminal charges.


The Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission (EACC) and the DPP think that by blaming each other, the public will absolve them both of their incompetence, negligence and betrayal of public office. With the threat by Mr Nicholas Biwott to reclaim “Integrity House” and the re-emergence of Mr Kamlesh Pattni in the Duty Free shops saga you know that neither fears the EACC or the DPP. It is “as it was in the beginning” and Jubilee has no intention of doing any house cleaning.

That became obvious with the frivolous manner in which the Lands CS and land commission handled the Langata playground affair. Both took the public for a ride and made fame out of shame. It was left to Gado and Moha to tell the truth. No surprise then that neither CS Davis Chirchir nor IEBC chairman Issak Hassan feels any obligation to step aside while investigations take place on Chickengate.

You can hear the choruses of “after all” echoing from the grandmasters of corruption these days. In other words, the public might paraphrase the President’s message on security, by stating fighting corruption starts with you and your deputy. Something has to give. Accused persons still walk the red carpet, fly the flag and travel the world at our expense.

Meanwhile, 1.6 million citizens are starving. Kenyans are no fools and they see the clear connection between the widespread poverty and the endemic corruption.

The worrying trend of violent protests being a daily event is a clear warning that all is not well. Soon those protests can move from local to national issues. Be warned.

[email protected] @GabrielDolan1