A Kenyan fed up with corruption in government has written President Uhuru Kenyatta asking him to have ‘do nothing’ billionaires audited.
The letter by Tim Kipchumba, the Co-Founder and Chief Finance Officer (CFO) at Questworks, shows how deeply angered Kenyans are by corruption.
While his approach may not even be approved by many, Kipchumba has at least made some effort to push for transparency.
Kipchumba says he is a 30-year-old entrepreneur, a first born of four siblings and a father to two boys. In the letter, he adds that he is from Elgeyo Marakwet.
The letter shows how working for the government can be tortuous if there are no godfathers to push the papers for a Kenyan who finds themselves stuck in the same job group despite the experience they may have.
“My dad worked for our government. He worked for the ministry of public works for close to 25 years. He barely got 3 promotions in that time. He earned much less than the money our MP’s would pay for one breakfast,” Kipchumba says.
He adds that at one point his father earned as little as Sh3,000.
He continues, “
And even though he (the father) rarely took leave fixing roads, he failed to get promoted because the papers either didn’t get to Nairobi or he didn’t know or they didn’t get to him or there was “no one to push”. He passed away 2 years ago to Multiple Myeloma. The doctors said that, this was the best cancer you can get, but dad didn’t live more than a year. He passed on when he was just about your age.”
The crux of the letter is to have the president
“fight the tragedy of billionaires that have done nothing”.
Something that has been on many Kenyans’ lips is healthcare and Kipchumba asks the president to have
“healthcare and yes (the medical equipment) in working hospitals all over the country.”
Kipchumba desperately shows how dire healthcare is in Kenya saying,
“Mr. President I will only dwell with the tragedy of the billionaires that have done nothing today. I’m just unable to master the courage to write about healthcare.”
“My fear now Mr President is that we have a tragedy in Kenya and in Africa. It is the tragedy of billionaires who have done nothing. Elsewhere, people become billionaires and there is a solid company or value that they have created. You can trace their wealth to value they created for people. Their wealth can be explained.”
Kipchumba’s letter points to the culture people getting into government to eat as much as they can and leave nothing for those who afford them the fancy lifestyles.
Despite being in public office, most government employees who should be civil servants have meteoric rises and even though they may not flaunt the wealth ill-gotten, they cannot successfully hide it from the keen eyes all the time.
“We Kenyans are ingenious. God loves us. We work hard to secure the future of our families and build our country. We are a resilient lot. Like other human beings, we shape our odds. What we now need is a government that can do its part to allow us all to pursue our dreams and happiness.”
He says he went to Strathmore University through a scholarship from East African Breweries Limited (EABL).
“I would not as otherwise afford that quality education, just like many young people can’t,” he elucidates.
He says Steve Jobs, Ellon Musk, Bill Gates, Carnegie, Thomas Edison, Sam Walton among others became billionaires doing something great with their lives.
“They did things. They built real value. They built industries. They changed our lives. These people become our heroes and heroines because of the incredible value and opportunities they created. Wal-Mart today is one of the biggest employers. And many young people around the world now want to do something to be like them. To be fair we have our own too in Kenya and Africa. We have our own billionaires that have actually created value and as a result they also got rewarded. Equity, Bidco, Comcraft are just among those companies that we are proud to know.”
“What is worrying Mr. President, is the rising number of those billionaires that have created nothing.”
“Your Excellency, one of the biggest contributions to entrepreneurship that you can make is to inculcate in law and practice, a culture that encourages and rewards ingenuity and hard work while also punishing harshly those many billionaires that just rob from Kenyans. The true cost of corruption, is not just the money that tax payers loose but also the message that millions of young Kenyans get. When young Kenyans see corrupt officials that robbed the lives of their parents walk out of jail or just step aside, or a system of government that continues to deny them an honest pursuit of their dreams and aspirations, they become just disillusioned and hopeless. They become radicalized. They have little to lose. This is the real tragedy of these billionaires and millionaires who have done nothing.”
“Your Excellency, we need to turn this corner as a nation. We need to have people jailed and hanged. We need people to be disgusted at people that steal and motivated by those that work hard. We need to jail millionaires who we cannot trace their source of wealth done nothing and celebrate millionaires that have done real things for our nation.”
He suggests that
“the single action of jailing corrupt officers will reverse insecurity, improve enterprise and inculcate a more cohesive Kenya and in fact create employment.”
Kipchumba draws the President Kenyatta’s attention back to the 2007/08 election violence period saying that the chaos was due to frustrated youths who have nothing to live or die for.
Kipchumba says he co-founded Questworks at 27, a real estate consultancy firm which now directly or indirectly employs over 100 people and handling portfolios in Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria, and Zambia among other countries.