Enough, Mr. President!
Dear Mr. President,
I hope this letter finds you in good health. Same here despite the sky-rocketing food prices, high cholera outbreaks and death rates due to water shortages, constant blackouts due to power rationing and high insecurity cases. But as I said earlier, we thank God for the good health.
I am writing to comment you about your achievements since you took over power in 2002. Sir, you have made a lot of progress since then in terms of development of roads, ‘free’ primary and secondary education for all school-going children, power ‘devolution’ through creating districts up from 57 in 2003 to 254, well as noticeable economic growth.
But sir, these good points are watered down by several loopholes in your administration. When you took over power in 2002 from former president Moi through landslide victory, one of your strongest campaign platforms was to fight corruption at all levels. In fact, the statement was ‘zero tolerance to corruption’. And it is this wound that I want to express to you through this letter. You see, this is the only means I can communicate to you because I dare not access you physically for fear of being manhandled by your security personnel. Yes, being manhandled. After all, who am I to address you physically?
Back to this grave issue of corruption and your commitment to fighting it; Your Excellency, of course you know that Kenya is the most corrupt country in East Africa, with the Kenya Police topping the list of corrupt institutions, courtesy of Transparency International’s East Africa Bribery Index 2009. And by the way, did you also know that Kenya is now among top 20 most corrupt countries in the world? Of course the Head of Civil Service Mr. Francis Muthaura must have told you. I hope he also told you that over 50% of Kenyans offer bribes to access any services in the public sector. He should, because this lies directly in his docket. Sir, I find it ironical that all public offices have this screaming message ‘This is a corruption free zone.’ Does it make any sense? By the way, I heard that Muthaura is back in the office after a heart surgery in South Africa, my get well wishes to him.
Your Excellency, it was this Muthaura person, and now Justice Aaron Ringera’s reappointment to head the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission (KACC) and his two assistant directors for another five years. You have had this tendency of recycling leaders in sensitive public portfolios. Of course you have been using your power and authority to do this, and despite raising public eyebrows, you have been moved no inch. But you see this latest reappointment of the Anti-graft boss has wounded many, including me. First, the appointment was unconstitutional and against the wishes of the KACC Advisory Board, who had a different formula for the reappointment. But you swiftly moved behind the scenes to ensure that the Advisory Board is silenced. Secondly, Justice Ringera is on record last year lamenting about his lack of power and capacity to fight graft. So sir, what makes you think that he will perform this time round?
Many have lost hope in your governance systems and institutions sir. I recently had the honour to work for your government as an enumerator during the 2009 Population and Housing Census. Sir, the experience in the field was terrible. I was not able to respond to questions like, “What does Kibaki want from us, what will you give us if we respond to your questions, Why are you not asking me how many times I have slept hungry in the past one week, I will not waste any of my minute on responding to government projects that do not cater for me!” And we bore all these bravely protecting your government because we are patriots.
But Sir, you need to consider the feelings of those you swore to serve and protect. Neglecting their deafening screams at the expense of your own interests will only sink the country deeper in terms of development. Remember sir that investors will only have faith in a country that is stable and has a future. But the deep-rooted corruption in the country leaves no room for prosperity. With your slow pace of reforms in governance institutions and lack of accountability, the much hyped Vision 2030 will never be realized.
To sum up my long letter sir, listen to those you govern and protect their rights to everything. Your cronies will only mislead you for they have interests to protect and please, drop all your old recycled buddies for public jobs. Lest I forget, make all arms of government independent and be fast on reforms. Remember sir, time waits for no man.
This article is part of a writing assignment for Voices of Our Future, which is providing rigorous web 2.0 and new media training for 31 emerging women leaders. We are speaking out for social change from some of the most forgotten corners of the world. Meet Us.