Character is modelled! Often the young generation is accused of all manner of negativities. We call them disrespectful, abusive, careless, selfish, ignorant, copycats…name them. It may be so, until the you turn the page.
However, we are quick to forget that the young generation a mirror image of what we are as society. A chip of the old wood, they say. Ours is a depraved society that is joyfully and celebratorily in a race to self-destruction but use the young generation as a scapegoat to deflect questions about accountability. Need we also mention transparency and responsibility?
What are they picking from the environment they live in? The questions is derived from environmentalist perspective which explains character – by extension culture – as a matrix of our surrounding. The environment! In other words, we are because it is (society). That is, the values we espouse and use to define what is good and what is bad are all derived from the societies we live in.
In a more pedagogical sense, sages remind us: If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck and walks like a duck, then it is a duck! The youth are an aggregation of our value system.
Kenya’s polluted politics is accepted as a norm and a deviation from this ‘norm’ is received and greeted with derision. From a religious point of view, doing good in Kenya today is regarded as an unforgivable ‘sin’. High levels of corruption, criminality, immorality define a hard working Kenyan.
Consider this: for the past five or so years, the media has published stories about how the Kenyan economy was ruthlessly run down by a cabal in the top echelons of government that openly and shamelessly stole public resources. Billions – maybe trillions – of Kenya shillings was lost through the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (Kemsa).
The exact figure of the heist vide the Kemsa has never been made public – reason being the government has never bothered to audit the authority’s books. From media accounts, the pork-heists carted away between Ksh7 billion and Ksh10 billion.
No one is talking about going after the fraudsters and get the money to fund the budget. Remember: nailing down economic crime perpetrators was a key election item in both Kenya Kwanza and Azimio manifestos. The government is now asking the taxpayer to plug the holes in the budget through hefty taxes. The perpetrators are known!
The Kemsa scandal sucked in former cabinet secretary for health Mutahi Kagwe, a host of Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party officials, the kith and kin retired President Uhuru Kenyatta, members of parliament who to sit in the Parliamentary Accounts Committee (PAC), Parliamentary Investment Committee (PIC) and budget committee. They are all known, and there is strong evidence to sustain a case in court.
When the scandal was unearthed, the minister and president made what sounded like a solemn vow to bring the culprits to book. During such scandals, the cliché, “no stone will be left unturned until the culprits are brought to book.” No stone has ever been turned and not a single page has ever been opened. In other words: there are no entries to this day.
Even as we cry for our beloved country, Kemsa is in the news again. This time it is under the spotlight for Ksh3.7 billion scandal after a bungled tender for the supply of treated mosquito nets. Money will be lost and the matter will just fade away.
As Kenyans grapple with high cost of living triggered by inflation that is underlined by steep depreciation of the local currency, little attention is being paid to the 2021 expose of how the country’s governing clique cannibalised the economy, denying our children and deserving citizens a right to live a decent life. Variously referred to as the Panama Papers, Pandora Papers or Panama Pandoras Papers, the unearthing of the scandal in which power barons steal and stash tonnes of money in secret accounts abroad, brought home the truth about the hopelessness among our youths.
How do you tax jobless youths as economic saboteurs enjoy their loot? Our national values do not give a damn to theft of public resources and using the same to stifle justice.
On the back of the revelations of how Kenya’s former presidents and their kin plundered the economy through outright theft and stashing the proceeds of theft in offshore accounts, President Uhuru Kenyatta promised to come clean on the Panama Papers scandal. Kenyatta’s successor William Ruto is aware of these economic crimes. Instead of pursuing them, he wants to tax the poor and vulnerable – the social and economic cadre he calls ‘hustlers’ or ‘ma–sufferers’.
Ruto’s regime is silent on these crimes. Instead, the government’ appetite for money is turned on the millions of unemployed and struggling Kenyans. The government wants to tax anything and everything to fund a Ksh6.7 trillion 2023-24 budget.
Tales of wanton of theft of public resources become even more intriguing and depressing against the backdrop of revelations by legislator and lawyer Saitabao Kanchory that in the sunset days of Uhuru Kenyatta’s tenure, his ministers ferried money to their houses on pickups from Central Bank of Kenya.
Ironically, the amount of money the government is looking for through brazen taxation to bridge the budget deficit is a drop in the ocean compared to the well-documented heists by the power barons – who are alive and live large. The evidence is overwhelming. The will to pursue matter lacks in our body politic.
Today, prime time television news gives the impression of serialisation of lawlessness experts often link to economic, social and emotion frustrations – especially among the younger generation. It’s extremely stressful if weighed against the scaring criminal and disheartening news.
We are in the grip religious extremism and the victims this are predictably the young, poor and jobless youth. Having been forced into hopelessness by our greedy and callous leadership, the younger generation is taking solace and refuge in religion in the hope a Supernatural Being can lift them from corrosive poverty. Hundreds have starved to death in the name of religious as spiritual deck that can move them closer to God – and salvation!
The material deprivation is criminal. However, does it matter to the governing clique that the young generation is in a state of flux is morally and ethically and hurtling towards eventual self-destruction? Which raise the concept of legacy our politicos so often recite liberally to explain why they should have the reins of power.
The level of pollution of our politics is high – one can equate it to what sulphuric acid does to a human being. It is corrosive. We are at this level of awkward political hygiene because of our raw sense of national values that edges us ever closer to abuse (emotional, psychological and physical), foul communication, abuse of office and disrespect in our politics. Yet the perpetrators of all this re are the very same leaders we look up to defend our constitution and laws that are supposed to give us a sense of who we are in the community of nations.
The faiths we all subscribe to teach us one cardinal principal: leadership is God-given. The authority vested in the leaders is sovereign and its violation sets a nation against itself on the way to self-destruction. We are on the road killing the sense oneness that gives us our identity as Kenyans – symbolised by the black, red, green and white colours of our flag.
That is supposed be a heritage that should be preserved for posterity. Unfortunately, we are depriving our children of this sense of self-esteem by serving them a menu defined by primitive animal instinct. If is only wild animals that defecate on what they feed on. As a nation, we seem to be keen on rivalling wild animals in their own kingdom by copying and passing on their ‘values’ to our children. Cry, my beloved country!
- A Tell report / By Rose Moturi, a former senior civil servant