Two weeks ago the President of the Republic of Kenya made a promise that he will open “a web site and a web page” through which Kenyans can report corruption cases. True to his words, today www.president.go.ke was launched…and…went down immediately:
http://t.co/wb1PgmYvHG is down because the owner is in a cabinet meeting. He walks around with the server.
— yo-yo tucker (@iFortknox) October 31, 2013
But by the time of writing this post the website was back online. Click here to review it. The President’s Website has several pages with diverse information about Kenya, the Presidency, the Constitution and Laws of Kenya, current Cabinet News, Tweets feed, booking an appointment to State House, and many others but these are not of interest today. We are interested on the “Report Corruption” portal. When you click at the link “Report Corruption”, you are taken to the Report Corruption form as shown by the screen shot below.
I do think, on the surface value, that this is a good move. It is a good move because you (and me) as an ordinary Kenyan will have this great feeling that now we can report corruption cases directly to the President himself through the President’s Website. Doesn’t it feel good to communicate directly to the President himself? How good would it be to receive direct feedback from him? Currently he doesn’t give feedback on tweets that he is mentioned on, including the tweets that are reporting corruption.
I also do believe that it is quite possible for the President himself to take some time every day from his busy schedule and read through and follow up on thousands of reports about corruption cases involving Shs 50 demanded by some police officers across the country; cases that if normally were to be reported to the local police stations or to the Ethics and Anti-corruption Commission, no one would take them seriously.
But let’s take a minute and scrutinize this whole thing. Do you believe that indeed the President will seriously follow up on a corruption case involving Shs 50? OK I understand he has team probably led by Dennis Itumbi to do the follow up. Even if he was to follow up on corruption cases involving Shs 2 million, what is the President communicating about the systems that are supposed to fight corruption? Does it mean that the President has lost faith in the Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission? Has the President bowed down and accepted that our police is in dire need of police reforms?
If indeed the President has acknowledged that the institutions meant to fight corruption and related vices have failed, should he take it upon himself to do their work or should he put his best foot forward and implement the much needed reforms in these institutions?
The President’s move to use technology in the fight against corruption is in the right direction but only if he realizes that fighting corruption cannot and should not be individualized. The President must take a big step forward and listen to people like Bitange Ndemo who had mentioned clearly that if effective ICT Systems were implemented then there wouldn’t be need for Institutions like the Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission in the first place.
Given that the President’s Website is a step towards the right direction, The President should now ensure that there exist Budget Systems, Accounting Systems, Audit Trail Systems, and other Systems for disbursing, allocating, spending, and financial reporting in every ministry, every department, and every other institution that spends government money. Systems that can track the movement of money from source to end user at every step along the way; systems that can be monitored in real time.
After fool proof systems are implemented across board, then the second step is to create fear. Fear must be created so that anyone interested in compromising the systems is fully aware that wen caught (the probability of being caught must tend towards 1) in any corruption case especially in the multimillion multibillion cases, he/she will surely pay back the whole amount with penalties and spend the rest of his/her life behind bars. A
The only way to create this fear is to deal with past cases of corruption once and for all.
I would like to see that every single person who was involved in the uncounted for shs. 300 billion government expenditures in the last financial year are jailed. I would like to see top civil servants, parastatal MDs, former Ministers and PSs, business tycoons, and any other culprit that was involved in Goldenberg, Anglo-leasing, Free Primary Education, Maize, Triton and other scandals are finally behind bars as a lesson that from past henceforth, no single individual, however mighty, will be spared the wretched life in jail. And those billions of Kenya shillings stacked away in foreign countries must be brought back home.
If the President will ensure implementation of an effective ICT System, if the President’s Website is Institutionalized rather than Individualized, and if the President ensures that all past corruption cases are dealt with, then and only then will I agree with his President’s Website Project. Until then, the President’s Website is another waste of public resources that contributes to the ever increasing corruption cases.
Someone to tell me why Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission should be interested in fighting corruption. If EACC was to eradicate corruption, won’t they turn out to be the proverbial shamba boy who cut down the tree so that he no longer had the leaves to sweep?