NGWIRI: Lords of corruption finding out there is nowhere to hide - Daily Nation

Lords of corruption finding out there is nowhere to hide

Saturday August 11 2018


Former Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero (right) and former county Treasury boss Maurice Okere appear at the Milimani Law Courts on August 9, 2018. They are accused of corruption. PHOTO | EVANS HABIL | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

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Corruption is as old as the Christian myth of creation in which, on the sixth day, God made man (Adam) in His image followed by Eve, and allowed them to rule over all living creatures and plants.

Soon after, the Devil, in the form of a serpent, tempted Eve to eat the forbidden fruit from the tree of knowledge and share with Adam.

This allowed them both to know the difference between good and evil, and it can be regarded as the first example of corruption that has since sullied every aspect of human existence.

This allegory about the Original Sin and the Fall of Man may sound rather far-fetched, but it does illustrate one important fact; that graft was not invented in Kenya and it did not start happening when the Jubilee coalition came to power almost six years ago.


As a result, this issue must be taken in its proper perspective — that corruption has been part of the human condition from time immemorial and the only way to make it less attractive, destructive and pervasive is to fight it tooth and nail.

A few months ago, when we Kenyans were not fighting over politics, it was extremely distressing to wake up every morning to news about yet another scandal of gigantic proportions perpetrated by faceless people who would remain so until it was time for them to be dragged to court proclaiming their innocence and vowing they would rather die than resign, only for the whole issue to be dismissed by court as a result of deliberately shoddy or non-existent investigations.

Sometimes, even where the charges appeared water-tight, people in the whole chain of the justice system, from investigators to prosecutors to lawyers all the way to magistrates and judges, would be compromised with the proceeds of the same crime under investigation.


The rest of us would fume and froth in the mouth at the charade, but nothing would really change because we keep forgetting that impunity can never be defeated through grand oratory, proclamations of intent or dire warnings.

On this note, it is gratifying to note the Judiciary is fully cooperating with the multi-disciplinary team set up to fight rampant graft.

Clever tactics like the use of pre-emptive bail to stop the arrest of suspects are not as common as before, and judges are no longer freeing suspects on bail as automatically as they used to.

When a person is suspected of siphoning millions of shillings from the public coffers, he must be treated like everyone else regardless of how influential he may be.

These days there is a whiff of fresh air.


Indeed, hope is rekindled every time a bunch of high-level suspects are arrested and interrogated for hours on end, and then charged.

Though it is not fair to sound so bloody-minded, it is clear the majority of Kenyans are delighted at what has been going on.

It could never have occurred to them that one day they would wake up to learn a sitting governor, a former governor, or parastatal head was hauled to police interrogation rooms and questioned for hours about corruption.

That would have been unthinkable just a short while ago.

It never would have occurred to anyone that a Principal Secretary could spend three weeks hiding in a hospital ward to avoid prison remand.

At this rate, it will not be surprising to see a Cabinet secretary jailed for crimes associated with corruption.


Whatever the outcome of the high-octane court cases that will follow these arrests, things will never be the same, for as sure as the sun sets in the west, salutary lessons are painfully being learnt.

Four years ago in these columns, during those days when I had the effrontery to offer the presidency unsolicited advice, I had this to say on corruption:

“This is not an easy fight [the President] has picked with the entrenched forces of corruption; it will be long and messy.

"The worms now wriggling in the muck of graft may one day turn into vicious crocodiles, devouring everyone who accosts them.

"This is why President Kenyatta cannot afford to give up now, however costly it may turn out to be politically. He must be steadfast in his resolve to fight this cancer that has afflicted all the vital organs of the body-politic.”


There is no question the President has zealously taken the war to the worms-turned-crocodiles. He cannot turn back now.

The long-suffering people of Kenya are with him in this effort and all the criminals and ne’er-do-wells must take notice.

Indeed, one would wish the President had the power to do to them what was done to Ananias and his wife Sapphira back in the biblical times.

They sold a piece of land and kept part of the proceeds for themselves instead of handing it all to the Apostle Peter for distribution to the poor as agreed.

By so doing, they lied to the Holy Spirit and paid for it with their lives.

But, alas, the President has to follow due process and the rule of law!

Magesha Ngwiri is a consultant editor. [email protected]