Why UHURU KENYATTA is furious and feeling lonely in a crowd - OKECH KENDO Mipasho
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Why UHURU KENYATTA is furious and feeling lonely in a crowd - OKECH KENDO
President Uhuru Kenyatta is furious. The man must be feeling lonely in a crowd. He is caught up among many hungry people with a voracious appetite for public resources, especially money and land. The President has warned public officers addicted to corruption times without count, but the caution is not working. Not even the suspension and prosecution of some of the 175 public officers named in the list of shame in March has improved accountability in public office.
And the ordinary people who watch this marathon-like addiction to raiding public accounts are also angry. Wananchi have cause to be hungry as they watch leaders loot public accounts without fear of reprisal.
Astounding amounts of money come up every time public accounts are raided. The amounts of money involved are equally baffling even when the attempted plunder is officially reported as foiled. The strategic pilferers loot in hundreds of millions, with accumulated figures running into billions of shillings. Money that should finance public services is being diverted into private pockets with digital impunity.
Anyone else in Uhuru’s position would be agitated when surrounded by such a plunderous crowd. The looters are in a race to grab as much as they can when they still can. Time is no barrier in this near 24-hour grabbing industry. Means is no restraint for these people who are strategically placed to plunder. The end – capital accumulation – is all they value.
Corruption has gone overdrive. Nothing will deter looters of the digital era from plunder and blunder. Not even Uhuru’s anger can restrain them.
The top usually sets the tone for accountability in a well-ordered system. Ordinarily, you clean the stairs from the top, going down. A fish usually starts to rot from the top, but this time it is decaying from the base. This time the vicious domestic animal called corruption has defied convention.
The dragon is flourishing because of the tyranny of numbers. The gluttons are many and spread virtually across the entire system. The anger of the lonely President does not seem to worry the digital addicts of corruption. Who then will restrain them if they do not take orders from above?
The President’s speech in Mumias last week captured the frustrations of a leader who feels let down by his charges. The speech also showed the President’s desperation to get things right. But it also displayed the President’s helplessness in the face of the rule of law. The investigators, the prosecutors and the courts are walking at their own pace. They are not about to start taking directions or orders from any quarter.
The President was in Western to deliver a Sh1 billion bailout cheque for the sickly sugar miller. This was was not the first time the lead sugar miller was gasping for breathe courtesy of corruption.
The Sh800 million rescue package of the 2013-14 financial year did not resuscitate it. This money, like others, seeped down the bottomless pit. Uhuru confirmed he knows this when he ordered the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission and the Directorate of Public Prosecutions to investigate and prosecute some past and present managers of the sugar mill.
The angry President said some directors used the mill’s massive resources to line up their stomachs. “We want the looters pursued, arrested and their assets frozen. We want the stolen money returned to the factory.”
But will the Sh1 billion solve the mill’s operational challenges and liquidity crisis? If history is anything to go by, this may not be the last time Mumias Sugar is being rescued, but the President had another warning for the managers:
“You have little time to prove your worth because there are other Kenyans who can ensure we achieve our intended objective. “You must show what plans you have of improving the state of this factory.”
Yet Mumias Sugar is one of the many public institutions where the rot is spreading. The ‘attempted’ theft at the National Youth Service is a familiar narrative, with a political dimension, and a touch of impunity. No one has been arrested for this foiled theft or for hacking into the Integrated Financial Management Information System.
About Sh1 billion, the public has been told, was about to disappear were it not for the ‘ingenuity’ and ‘timely intervention’ of Devolution Cabinet Secretary Anne Waiguru. The narrative, which has been passionately pushed by a gullible press, is that the public should be grateful the attempted theft was foiled. But it is also true that the ‘attempted fraud’ is a crime. Why then has no one been charged with this ‘attempted fraud’?
Let us hope the EACC is about to conclude the investigations at the NYS. Let us also hope the DPP will expedite prosecutions.
For now, it can be concluded the hackers, who may also be linked to companies that were about to pay themselves Sh800 million for shoddy supplies and services, are politically correct and are well-wired in NYS and among the custodians of the IFMIS.
Perhaps after “full and thorough” investigations, some public officers and their accomplices will account for this ‘foiled theft’.
In another world, in another era, the corruption suspects could have been sent to the gallows to deter others who may be tempted to raid the till. But executing the corrupt is not an option, even as investigations and prosecution seem slow and laboured.
OKECH KENDO is a Columnist at the Star Newspaper.
Source: Kenya News