Kenyans are suffering because of corruption, not the economic model


Grieving family pushing a cart through a muddy section, Nyandarua, 2019. [John Githinji, Standard]

Normally, this column is written on Friday evening, and submitted to the editor yesterday, that is to say Saturday.

This week, this column was written on Thursday, to be submitted on Friday, and even then the editor was not amused. Overall, it’s not easy to make editors happy, especially my editor, because they work on timelines that they can change at will.

But usually they are good people who, unlike politicians, only kill stories, not dreams. But I digress.

I wrote this column early because I didn’t want the speeches and promises that were to be made at Kasarani on Friday to hamper a narrative about business models being peddled without any mention of the bigger problem.

In one sentence I didn’t mean to be confused, after all I am a Kenyan, and politicians love to confuse us with slogans and promises, and we believe them.

For months, every politician’s speech has been about Kenya’s economy, and every one of them says they are going to turn the tide. Nothing new. It has been empty talk for ages or every election cycle. And since Kenya is still in election mode, the empty conversations never end.

shameless lies

Unfortunately, those who talk about fixing the economy are the ones who loot it, before, during and after the speeches. They spend tens of millions of taxpayers’ money visiting conference rooms and returning to their homes and offices, happy to have found piles of morons who have swallowed their lies.

Ironically, their talk of getting the economy back on track is backed by economists they have appointed to help them sell easily excitable Kenyans the narrative that the numbers in the economy don’t add up but will when they do. will be in power.

Economic theories of the Paleolithic period are hurled at desperate Kenyans, but the real reason people are suffering is being swept under Persian rugs, in their offices and official residences, often bought with taxpayers’ money. There is hardly any truth to saying that what Kenya needs is a new economic model, because what has been there has never worked.

People who say that are not poor. They are rich and have made their money, legally or through underhanded dealings, under the same business model they claim to have failed. They know the model has failed to distribute the wealth because of the corruption they perpetuate, and they want to continue to profit from it, so they come under the impression that the problem is the economic model.

Economic theories

These economic theories are good for high-level talks in the ivory towers and can only make sense to Kenyans when the outcome trickles down. But that does not happen because what is intended for the people is captured, or even stolen, by politicians halfway.

Kenyans can be sold many business models and given many promises, but the number of high profile anti-corruption and economic crime cases before the courts is proof that no model will work unless politicians stop steal public coffers or help their friends and relatives save money and build up their bank accounts. As of November 3, 2021, 14 high-profile anti-corruption and economic crime cases have been registered in courts and at different decision levels.

The amounts involved vary, with the largest being 24 billion shillings (case number ACC/20/2019) and the lowest 8 million shillings (case number ACC/23/2018), but the total sum in every case is a staggering 51 billion shillings. . Not all of these cases directly involve politicians but the defendants are their cronies or public office appointees and case number ACC/20/2019 involving 24 billion shillings has been vehemently defended by politicians saying that much less than this amount was paid by Arror and Kimwarer Dams.

These cases are handled by the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions and have been filed in court between 2013 and 2019. It is safe to say that there are still many scams undetected or cases still under investigation.

Of course, there were other scams and corruption cases before these, and in those cases too, wealthy politicians were involved directly or through their cronies, and the voters were the losers.

It is therefore dishonest to claim that the reason Kenyans are suffering is because of the economic model. It is a white lie because we elect thieves whose main occupation is to defraud the taxpayers and not to elevate them.

They always find ways to beat the technology put in place to prevent theft and appoint people who can aid and abet their criminal ways.

At election time, they run around, economists in tow, telling desperate Kenyans that what they need are pre-Hellenistic era trade tools to get ahead in the digital age.

These lies must stop. Kenyans need to know that no matter what economic model they find themselves in, their suffering will not end until corruption is gone. Until the politicians stop stealing them. Until they stop electing thieves.


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