By James Wakibia

Corruption remains one of Kenya’s biggest threat to development. Every successive year Transparency International lists our beloved nation amongst the most corrupt nations on the face of the earth. It’s not something to be proud of. It is not like marathons and javelin that we should be proud of. No, it’s something every sane person should be condemning.

According to Transparency international, the bad corruption index can be attributed to incompetence and ineffectiveness of anti-corruption agencies who have failed to punish alleged corruption offenders. The Judiciary, Director of Public Prosecution and Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission were pointed out as institutions that have contributed in high corruption levels, they have failed in the war against the vice.

As a ‘mwananchi’ in the streets am left powerless and confused and at the mercy of these corrupt but powerful people who make life very expensive and lead to increased poverty.

County governments are in a good position to bridge the gap between the haves and have not. Through proper distribution of resources and good governance, it is possible to fight the ever increasing rates of poverty and to bring the numbers down. But with entrenched corruption I doubt any positive gains are going to be achieved, more poor people will continue languishing in pain and wallowing in immeasurable poverty. These people are suffocating public coffers for their own selfish gains with utmost impunity. Anything to stop this open thievery must be top priority.

It is saddening that the youth now see corruption as an easier way to wealth creation.

Reports of maddening and unthinkable amounts spent on buying goods and services are all over. We all remember the sh109,000 anti-carcinogenic wheel barrows of Bungoma, sh2m Facebook account opening fees of Kirinyaga, huge sitting allowances and generally spending that raises so many questions. Some with our legislators have allegedly hired gangs to walk around intimidating critics. Without a doubt, things are going haywire. Members of County Assemblies (MCAs) are now overstocked with unrivaled power, they are demigods, instead of being the watchdogs they can be seen every day strolling the corridors of governors offices, looking for kickbacks, to move certain motions in the assemblies.

To effectively reduce poverty in Kenya, runaway corruption must be eliminated. The vice has negative implications on vision 2030 which might just be a pipe dream. Corruption will always pull us down, and it must be fought.

It’s good that the president came out strongly to condemn and show the public his stand on corruption. Using tough talk is good but words and stun face alone and no actions will not fight corruption. It’s time for a turnaround, those well written speeches that move masses must be moving thugs to jail. Corruption is now a national security problem and it must be axed. The enacted laws must be implemented.

We voted for devolution because we believed in it. We went back to the ballots and brought in people we had faith in, but by default almost all of them have proved to be the wrong choices. Many have pending criminal cases. While they are still innocent until proven guilty, there is a shed of uncertainty over the quality and substance of the leadership they offer. We shouldn’t just watch as they use our resources to campaign for their re-elections. This breeds a vicious cycle of bad governance which needs to be stemmed once and for all.

The writer is a Human Rights Activist based in Nakuru.