War on corruption: it is simply about the value system

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War on corruption: it is simply about the value system

February 06 th.


The question of our value system and the fight against corruption had a monumental impression on my mind. Upon ponder, I seemed to be quickly persuaded that this is where our focus ought to be if we must win on the fight against corruption. On further reflection, it also dawned that the intention of the Constitution to have National Values and Principles of Governance in article 10 and Chapter Six on Leadership and Integrity was for this very purpose. The war on corruption had been laudably heightened but the obvious had remained unasked.Does Kenya have a value based system? What are Kenyans known for? What is the sum total character of the Kenyan people?

A value system is beyond what is written and invokes the continuous practice of the stated shared values. Article 10 of our Constitution has a list of “magnificent” values among them: good governance, integrity, transparency and accountability. These values are meant to insulate us from the temptations of corruption and the corrupt. Therefore, when we talk of corruption, it means a certain value has been negated or is inactive. Let us examine a few examples. When someone steals public funds we may say they are greedy, self-centred and lack integrity. When someone receives payment for services not rendered or goods not delivered we may render them untrustworthy, dishonest, cheats. When someone abuses entrusted power for private gain, we may say they are ungrateful, self-seekers and unkind. The list could be endless.

It is proper to say that war on corruption should now shift focus to the entrenchment of a value based system within our people. This may be hard to tackle but not entirely impossible. Legislation on values will prove elusive as before. To achieve this; we should begin by the public identification and reward of value based persons in society. They should be honoured and elevated. Their success stories should be published to inspire the population that such people can live and thrive among us. We should task such people to be the frontiers and anti-corruption champions. Secondly, Kenyans must refuse to listen to and be enticed by the corrupt and their counsel. Indeed suspects should be abhorred until they are cleansed and publicly so.


A real embracement of a value system will naturally demand a predictable system. Thus, our social-cultural, geo-political and economic spheres should be skewed towards meritocracy and hard work. People`s efforts in every endeavour ought to count and mean something. We should make it as hard as possible for short-cuts and corruption symptoms to blossom and vice versa.


Such a value based conscious society has to begin with the leadership. Our leadership should transcend self and be inclined towards exemplary lives. The persons in positions of leadership should also wake up and be conscious of the common enemy. As war like generals they must begin to demonize the vice, its associates or agents.To really succeed, they must arm themselves with integrity, shun hypocrisy, reduce finger pointing and above all wear the attire of our intended value system. As the conversation in the cafeteria concluded, the rest of us will follow.   


Written by:

Dr. Jacob Otachi Orina

Leadership & Governance Advisor


Twitter: @OtachiOrina   

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You are here: Home Get Updates Blog War on corruption: it is simply about the value system