The fight against corruption in Kenya (and all over the world) is first and foremost a moral one. There is a legal and physical aspect to it, but morality is the most central question in all corruption cases. It is a fight between right and wrong, between darkness and the light.
This is because corruption begins in the heart and not in the act. Before corruption manifests in actions, it has already been conceived and nurtured in the heart.
For you to commit graft, you have to think about it, convince yourself to do it, seek partners in crime, and even establish a plan on how to use the money, all before you lift a finger.
You also have to dismiss the voice telling you that what you are planning is wrong, you have to make a decision between right and wrong. This is a step that you must go through, you never miss it, that private moment of choice.
Nobody stumbles upon corruption, every Kenyan who engages in corruption has had that personal moment when they chose it over doing the right thing.
There seems to be a change in the way that corruption is being fought in Kenya and I know that am not the only one seeing it. Something seems to have happened at the top, 2018 has brought a new resolve and vigour never witnessed before in Kenya. Things have changed, and I bet it’s a moral shift.
Someone at the top really wants to do the right thing, and I hope it is so.
Because we are seeing things we never saw before; the untouchables are being touched, friends are being denied, family members are being disowned, and allies are worried.
When the Deputy Chief Justice was arrested a few weeks ago, the DPP Noordin Haji called a press conference and read a statement. He talked about how the decision to arrest the DCJ had not been taken lightly, but ‘it was the right decision under the law’.
‘Those in positions of service must not only submit to the constitutional precepts of integrity, they must exercise wisdom, demonstrate good judgement and lead by the power of their example’ he said.
He went on about the system of chaos that had taken root in Kenya and how it had affected millions of young people who are unemployed partly because of collapsing or stagnant factories, stifled by a hostile business environment created by corruption.
‘Our country is being torn apart by people who have been placed in positions of trust and who in turn abuse this trust……. the message that the President, the Chief Justice and other Leaders have been sending is that this chaotic system needs to come to an end for the sake of our people.’ he added.
Those are words of a considerate but tough man. A man who is motivated to do the right thing. I take his word for it because so far, I have no reason not to, he has walked the talk and I pray that he continues on that path.
Before that the president himself had used some strong words ‘No matter how powerful you think you are, no matter the people you know in high position, no matter how much money you have, that will not save you’.
You may not agree, you may think it’s a fluke, or a glitch in the well-known system but I think something good is happening in this country.
You may call it political will or legacy building and rightfully so, but am hearing something more, the underlying moral motivation cannot go unnoticed.
I think we are well into a deep fight between right and wrong in this nation. And I am excited.
I am excited because we have always made that rookie mistake of bundling people together.
‘Kenyans are very corrupt’ you would hear, even when it’s only a certain percentage of Kenyans who are corrupt.
‘Our schools are burning’ even when its less than one percent of schools that were burnt.
‘You cannot trust a Kenyan man’ even when there are enough good men around.
We need clear lines, clear demarcations to show where people really stand.
This has been my silent prayer for a long time, that corrupt Kenyans get exposed so that we can clearly know who they are. Kenyans know that most of their leaders are corrupt but its time to put names and faces to them.
Choose your side
We can only achieve sanity in Kenya by asking and answering the moral question. Am I doing the right thing?
If a procurement officer asks you to increase the price of certain goods to accommodate ‘their cut’. The right thing to do is to be as clear as day and night and say that it is wrong. Let it be known immediately where you stand.
Your moral choices distinguish you more than anything else. They make it clear to everyone who you are, and it is the most effective way to fight corruption if replicated across the country.
And we are beginning to see this in public. People are getting caught. Desperation is creeping in. In the words of the DPP, ‘investigating and punishing wrongdoing is difficult and painful, but it has to be done.’
A line is being drawn and people are falling to their chosen sides. Which side will you fall?
I pray that the light of truth may shine bright in this nation so that darkness may flee. But that light needs to drive out the darkness in our hearts first.
Ephesians 5:11 – Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.