BWIRE: Rampant greed eating away at the very fabric of Kenya


BWIRE: Rampant greed eating away at the very fabric of Kenya
File image of a protester waving a banner. PHOTO| COURTESY

By Victor Bwire

“We killed our past and are busy killing our future” as captured in betrayal in the city seems a fair depiction of what is happening in Kenya today.

Kenya is a country that rarely learns from her past and spends too much on breaking working systems because of individual greed. Even including national values as provided in the Constitution in key national endeavors like education system, performance contracts, mwongozi guidelines for public entities or private led anti corruption initiatives, Kenyans rarely respect any form of values or ethics in doing things.

The culture of national greed has pervaded all or national sphere and we eat, drink and sleep greed. It’s sad that the national development narrative has been overtaken by the political noise and games that seem to have extended to the public service including the security sector and private players that are critical to building a legacy.

There were things the Kibaki administration did well that we have refused to learn and appreciate; it’s the time working in the public service seemed stable and attracted a number high level skills and some matters in the service were de-politicized.

The budgeting process was sensitive to national development, prioritizing key sectors of the economy and national development seemed a national project. Discipline seemed a virtue to some people in public service, and whenever there were things going wrong, evidence-based and focused executive orders were issued. There was order in the manner of doing things at some level.

This obsession with disruptive politics among Kenyans, is not only puzzling, but threatens any meaningful effort at national development.

We love dramatizing things to appeal to the emotions of the public, irrespective of the outcome of such negative mobilization, even when aware that whatever is at stake is personal and has nothing to do with our country, community or tribe.

Look at the dams scandals, border dispute with Somali, divisions within our political class, fight on corruption, law making, management of the counties among others, and you see that national development is rarely a concern to those in charge.

Our main aspiration to politicize even national issues to help us aspire to get into public service or leadership position not to serve but to help individual selves.

We have over-politicized our thinking and way of doing things, and now, our services including public service and politics are big business and returns dictate how much we give to the country. We must abandon this culture of national greed. Kenya is one of the few countries in the world where we develop the best policies on almost everything, import them for implementation in other countries and then we visit for benching marking purposes.

Kenya’s political scene has as always expected taken its shape; ugly, manipulative dirty, sectarian and disruptive, frustrating any effort at efficient service delivery to Kenyans. Within the high octane political environment that is prevailing in the country, its likely that fundamental freedoms will be curtailed. The threat to the implementation of the Constitution and the enjoyment of the progressive fundamental freedoms provided is real. The pressure is so high on some key institution that a lot of missteps will be seen.

The political greed that has prevailed in the country creating the requisite space for such evils as corruption, looting of public resources, corporate fraud in the private sector and crime is at it again, three years ahead of the 2022 General Election.

In such environment as the one currently obtaining in Kenya, where the ruling party is deeply divided, half the executive is not interested in delivering to Kenyans, a cabinet that is mistrusting, MPs that seem focused on their individual needs at the expense of voters’ interests, county governments out of touch with citizens needs, and political electioneering full activated, can anything meaningful happen? Can we attract direct foreign funding or attract investors in such space?

How does national initiative function is such hate ridden political environment? How does national institution like the national security advisory council, cabinet, Council of Governors, national inter-governmental relations committee meet and function when there is such high level of mistrust and suspicion?

Nearly 4000 guns are in the hands of wrong hands, billions of shillings are reported by relevant public agencies to be missing from the public coffers, stalled multi million projects dot our counties, public servants threatened daily in line of duty, the two Houses of the National Assembly cant agree on national issues, but the politicians can’t hear of these, their eyes are fully glued on the 2022 General Election.

Victor Bwire is the Programmes Manager at the Media Council of Kenya

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