Dear Mr. President,
After you were elected in 2013, you called a friend of mine and asked him what you could do to fight corruption. My friend, a well-known Kenyan activist, a whistleblower and a man who once forced to flee from Kenya, gave you a list of things you could do. Sadly, you failed to follow through with any action. Today, my friend says if you had done half of the things that he recommended, Kenya wouldn’t be ranked as one of the most corrupt countries in the world.
This week, you were sworn in for your second term. In your almost one hour speech, not once did you mention the word corruption, or make a fresh commitment to fight it. Six months into your first term, in October 2013, you launched a website to fight corruption. Many people reported corruption through that portal, but nothing came out of it. Four years later, in October 2016, you asked Kenyans what we wanted you to do about corruption. In your first term, corruption was normalized and our jails don’t have a single person serving time for grand corruption. You failed to demonstrate genuine, bold and effective political will to fight corruption.
In fact, the people who looted billions used them to bribe voters and got elected into public office, many of them through your own party.
Mr. President, I have some suggestions you can implement to cement your legacy. During your first term, cabinet secretaries, governors, MCA’s and their families stole from the public. Your administration should now recover what was stolen, impound assets and jail the thieves. In China, where you like to borrow money from, no one is too high or too connected to be jailed for corruption.
The Ethics and Anti-corruption Commission has failed in its mandate, but they were bold enough to admit Kenya is losing a third of its state budget — the equivalent of about Sh600 billion ($6billion) to corruption. Between the time Kenya became independent in 1963 and you ascended to power in 2013, Kenya had borrowed a total of Sh1.749 trillion, but in the past five years of your administration, we have borrowed a massive Sh2.252 trillion. The appetite to steal has been huge in the last five years. A third of our budget, that’s stolen, has been used to inflate land value in Kenya and putting up new flashy buildings, while Kenyans are deprived of essential services.
Here are six ways on how you can fight corruption. You must form a Corruption Control Council — headed by someone who is well respected and who will complement the other institutions in the fight against corruption. This team must be independent of the executive and political interference. You must put up a public website where we can access wealth declarations for all elected officials and senior civil servants.
The government must assign judges to handle corruption cases. The cases must be expedited to minimize witness tampering, intimidation, and hiding of stolen assets. You should announce a three months amnesty for people who have stolen from the government, or grabbed land to return the stolen assets. Lastly, and most important of all, you must reward and protect whistleblowers.
Offer whistleblowers a percentage of the assets recovered and provide them with police protection, or even relocation from Kenya. If John Githongo hadn’t been well connected, he would be dead by now for blowing the whistle on the Angloleasing scandal. David Munyakei died a bitter, hunted man after he was chased around Kenya as a result of his blowing the whistle on Goldenberg.
Out of the 47 governors elected, we know that most of them stole the cash that was allocated to the counties. If you promise counties Chief Financial Officers amnesty and a percentage of money recovered, they can help you recover the money.
In your Cabinet and inner team, you should include new voices, critics, average citizens, who can give you unfiltered information on how you’re performing.
You should provide a platform where citizens can send complaints and suggestions and ensure they’re followed up on. Mr. President, you’re in your final term and you’re protected by men who are willing to die for you. You will enjoy that protection until the day you die. You can take advantage of that and go after the corrupt people, no matter powerful or close they are to you.
You can be remembered as the president who helped end corruption in Kenya. History awaits you, Mr. President; will you answer or fall short?
Dear Mr. President,