It was on Friday and after a long day in the office, my friends and I decided to pass by a local bar to drink away the woes we had faced during the month of January as we looked forward to an fruitful February whose indications seemed to be as bad as January’s.
Alcohol was flowing and we were having a good time. The famous tune of Kamatia Chini was playing and some people were on the floor erotically shaking their booties. One of my friends, a smiling short looking fellow, cleared his throat and we knew that he had something to say. He was one of those guys who always gained instant wisdom whenever alcohol took 90 percent of their brain.
“Why do you think Anne Waiguru and Josephine Kabura and all other mighty human beings who have looted public resources in this country are not behind bars?” he asked rather loudly.
“Because this is Kenya,” I answered without even thinking.
“Why do you say so?” our friend with an alcoholically acquired wisdom asked me.
“Because Kenya is country where we hang the small thieves and elect the big ones into big offices,” I said, as though I had also acquired some unusual wisdom from a bottle of Tusker before me.
“I will tell you why,” he said. “A mosquito that draws blood from the testicles is always given a gentle slap. Think about that,” he said before emptying his glass and we staggered out of the premise.
This left me wondering. It is said that Kenyans have a habit forgetting grave matters and embracing petty ones. Years are passing by and it appears as if Kenyans are forgetting all about the hundreds of millions that were looted from the National Youth Service (NYS) with the key suspects still walking free with some, like Anne Waiguru, planning to enter into politics and vie for the gubernatorial position in Kirinyaga County.
According to John Githongo who is the CEO of Inuka Kenya Trust, the ruling elite in Kenya blow hot and cold and seem divided with regard to the rampant corruption in the country. With the discovery of oil, Githongo says, potential for the toxic mix of graft, tribalism and both organic and state engineered insecurity to blow up our faces has never been higher.
My friend and colleague David Indeje, in his article ‘Kenya’s Peculiar Problem is Impunity‘, writes that “failure to condemn what we actually see as wrong has led to jam packing of challenges where many of which have reached maturity stage, to uproot or shove them from our footpaths it requires bulldozers.
Retired Chief Justice of Kenya Dr. Willy Mutunga once said that Kenya is a bandit economy. An economy run and controlled by the cartels who roam even in the corridors of justice. Trying to fight these cartels, he said, will either guarantee you a one-way ticket to the grave or into exile. An activist, Bonface Mwangi, who now claims that his life is in danger once said that other countries have the cartels but in Kenya, the cartels have the country.
In the National Youth Service case, one suspect, Josephine Kabura, in an inquiry before a parliamentary committee, Public Accounts Committee, in November last year, she could not explain her dealings with the National Youth Service but what shocked many was that she could withdraw more than 100 million shillings from a bank without any security arrangements.
In March, 2015, Josephine Kabura withdrew 100 million shillings from a bank without security. When asked how she carried the money, she simply said, I would carry the money in one bag at a time. According to her, one bag would carry between 10 to 20 million shillings and that she used the money to pay the suppliers at the quarry who were working day and night. The weight of 100 million shillings is approximately 100 kilograms or let’s just say two bags of cement. In total, the lady had received more than 1.67 billion shillings from NYS. This was a self-confessed thief but is she in jail? No sir. She is walking freely and perhaps squandering the loot.
For more information on Josephine Kabura, read Meet The Woman Who Carried Millions of Shillings in Bags Without Security Arrangements.
Last week, the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission arrested James Oswago, former CEO of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission over the infamous Chickengate Scandal. The case has been dragging its feet for some time now even after those who gave out the bribe from the United Kingdom were jailed for three years. This is irony. Those who gave the bribe were jailed but those who received the bribe in Kenya are still walking free with investigations ongoing.
When will we ever see the thieves and the looters of public funds behind bars? Will our society continue being a man eat man society? But as my friend told me, the mosquito that draws blood from the testicle always receives a gentle slap. Think about it too.