Leadership is failing anti-corruption in Kenya

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Leadership is failing anti-corruption in Kenya

March 11 th.


Cambridge dictionary has simply attributed leadership to setting direction in a good sense (exemplary) for people to follow. What do we expect the rest to do when leaders are “soiling” their hands a little? Chapter 6 of the constitution of Kenya on leadership and integrity has set out very clear standards to be upheld by public officials and everyone else. The very easy one to remember is honesty, integrity and public honour the office in which one serves. I wonder whether this was just an instrument to apply selectively because in this state of events; someone should have voluntarily stepped aside to allow for “further investigations”. I am reminded that the investigations have to be transparent, fair, just and only meant to unearth the truth which must be publicly shared and perpetrators or economic crimes be punished.  

When elected leaders fail, we turn to constitutional commissions and other institutions such as the Ethics and Anti-Corruption commission (EACC) for direction and hope. Whether by design or just “things falling apart”; the EACC is currently dealing with internal leadership wrangles that have led to a bitter and public disagreement among some commissioners who want the chairman out (they have a said petition letter sent to the president to this effect), the chairman and CEO whose decision to suspend an EACC official over some scandal were hurriedly overturned by the CEO. It is important to note that this is happening in the wake of the famous Anglo-Leasing scam where senior former and present public officials have been charged in court. 

Our failure began when we had all the wrong reasons to elect leaders to office (Clan, tribe, bribe, nepotism, friendship). Subsequently we cynically charged them with a mandate of taking care of our resources for social, economic and cultural wellbeing without our participation and monitoring. We have also accepted a weak value system and are unwilling to train, mentor the future generation in the right direction. In other countries, being suspected of corruption is a serious crime that can lead to death by hang. But we are a nation of the rule of law and have adopted a reform process that we may carry very potato in the bag good or bad; we can select the good ones when we arrive.

One could assume that the corruption networks are live and active in every sector of the Kenyan system. This is true. To disrupt them an antidote of effective leadership that upholds zero tolerance to corruption is a sine qua non and this ought to begin with the executive, parliament and the judiciary. 

Opinion article by Otachi J. Orina (Communication and Governance Czar)


The writer works with Tachicom-Kenya and his views expressed herein are personal and do not necessarily reflect those of the Habitat.

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