IT WASN’T ME!!! JUST SAY IT WASN’T YOU? ~Shaggy
Tracey sat at the back seat of her father’s car as they drove to the countryside on the Nairobi Nakuru highway. Her dad was overspeeding to beat the fall of night. He was approaching Ahero, a famous roadblock for the speeding motorists he was caught by the traffic police. What an unfortunate scenario. As a child, Tracey was expecting the usual when caught one is taken to jail. However, to her shock, she saw her dad leave the car. However, before he could leave, he had to dig into his wallet, remove a thousand shilling note, cramped it into a tiny ball as he swiftly walked to the policeman standing at a distance pretending to play with his radiophone. He gives him a handshake and comes back to the car, and they continued with their journey. Growing up, Tracey realised that was corruption at its best.
GOVERNANCE A SCAM??
I believe governance in Africa is a scam. Before you are quick to respond, let me explain. In Nigeria, between the years 2015-2017, the out of the pocket expenditure on health has gradually increased to 75.2 %. (Ifijeh, 2020)This is an indication of the low allocation of funds which is alluded by poor governance. A recent saga that happened in Kenya during a trying time for the globe, was when Jack Ma donated protective gear for African countries and our leaders decided to enrich their pockets personally. (Igunza, 2020). Instead of fighting a disease that is sweeping the globe, we are fighting corruption amid disaster. Good governance is transparent, equitable, inclusive, responsive,consensus-oriented and follows laws. The African countries to be precise my country of focus Nigeria and Kenya have failed to uphold the values due to several factors.
Listening to shaggy’s hit song It wasn’t me a number of times my imagination creating how politicians liaise with the judicial system when they are caught in corruption cases to support their backs. I connected the ‘it wasn’t me’ part to a refusal of accountability amongst the African leaders today and after refusal leaders quickly find ways to justify it wasn’t them.
A famous blogger categorizes the Kenyan political grounds as the unholy trinity- corruption, politics and tribalism. (Wainaina et al., 2020). Tribalism is the strong loyalty to one own’s tribe, party or group.(“Definition of tribalism | Dictionary.com”, 2020) . Tribalism is one of the factors that lead to poor governance in Kenya and Nigeria. A perfect example is when asked in Kenya where are you from the immediate response is one’s upcountry geographical region which is identifying with a specific tribe. Why must this be a question during interviews? Tribalism creates a division among the citizens and brews much hate due to one’s tribe. Citizens elect someone in the name of him/her being a member of one’s tribe, the issue comes in when we are judging one’s propensity to rule by where they come from and not their leadership skill and prowess. In return, this affects how a country is ruled. If one with poor leadership skills is elected, they will end up making laws that benefit a particular region or ineffective laws that lead to a diminishing society. “Our elections are simply an assembly of ethnicity, an ethnic census to determine which ethnic group is better” words of PLO Lumumba-(Otieno Lumumba, 2019). Growing up, I supported a politician because he was from my tribe; this is because I felt obliged to follow my tribe member. How dare I not support someone from my tribe that is an abomination. It is my devil who can beat your devil game. We need to style up.
Corruption is like a tree that births several branches as it grows. Corruption is the abuse of entrusted power for personal gain(“What is corruption?”, 2020). Africa’s corruption perception index average is 32/100 and Kenya, and Nigeria has a score of 28 and 26, respectively(“Results – 2019 – CPI”, 2020). Corruption brews insecurity, political instability, bribery and much more. Corruption is brought about by people feeling the need to want something for themselves selfishly, and one would go to any length into ‘achieving’ what he/she desires. The Jack Ma scandal in Kenya that had leaders grabbing wealth that is supposed to help the less fortunate get protective gear was all in the name of satisfying the belly.
As the adage goes every action has an equal and opposite reaction. During the 2017 elections in Kenya, the opposition took the stand to nullify the results and accuse the winning party President Uhuru Kenyatta of rigging the elections. This made many people angry on both sides. The opposition leader made his supporters’ boycott work due to the number of deaths(of his supporters) that occurred during the election period(Gadjanova, 2020). I would use the 2007 General elections that happened in Kenya. There were nine candidates, but 2 caught the people’s eye. Mwai Kibaki and Raila Odinga. The twist comes in when both candidates were from the largest ethnic groups in Kenya that’s when all hell broke loose. Most counties in Kenya are occupied by specific ethnic groups an example would be Kisumu is occupied by the Luo, a Nilotic group and Kirinyaga is majorly occupied by the Kikuyu a Bantu speaking group and one can tell where another is from by their name. During settlement in the colonial period, ethnic groups settled together in the speaking groups, so the Bantus settled in the same area. The Nilotes settled in the same area. I would tell a story.
After the announcement of results, Maina(Bantu) was ecstatic at the results; meanwhile, Okoth(Nilote) was devastated at the announcement. Okoth being angered by the ‘defeat’ he rallies Odhiambo, Atieno and Okeyo(all supporters of the opposition) to help in looting the government offices, shops and even in people’s house of Wairimu, Maina and Wanjiru(all supporters of the winning party) thus creating tension in the area. All supporters of the opposition side who were bitter by results, take to the streets and continue with the narrative and harm the winning side. Reprisal attacks began brewing up from the government and the Kikuyu militias(2020). The irony is instead of the government trying to stop the chaos they add salt to a wound creating political instability, an effect of corruption. As opposition supporters fled the streets in the name of protest, little did they know that their leader also corrupted his way in some of the counties(Bloomfield, 2008). The way the two leaders did it was to add numbers to their counted votes in their preferred counties. Preferred to state their ethnic-based supporting counties.
A flower farmer trying to make a living during that time was petrified to continue with his work because he is from a Bantu group. He needed to cross Nilotic dominant areas to transport flowers for export but he could not because they would stop him and tear him into pieces because he had voted for the wrong leader and caused his lack of the presidential title. Imagine the number of other farmers that could not carry their duties? 38% of exportation firms were affected, which affected the country due to the decrease of flower exports and led to a downfall in the economic development of the country(Ksoll et al., 2020). A significant effect of corruption is low economic development.
Corruption brews much damage to the social, political and economic aspects of the society. The change we want to see starts from you as an individual and not directing the work to others. I would recommend that we uphold our virtues. We need to be able to employ integrity as a nation to be able to call out the vices. Once we change the mindset that a leader can rule regardless of his/her ethnic background, the next generation would have it more comfortable.
This might be addressed to the Americans but we can all relate to what is happening with our leaders and continent.
A spoken word from a Nigerian speaking on the effects of corruption tearing down the economy.
INFOGRAPHIC LINK BELOW
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Igunza, E. (2020). Coronavirus corruption in Kenya: Officials and businesspeople targeted. BBC News. Retrieved 3 December 2020, from https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-54278417.
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Very inspiring read. I think this article should be shared so that all the youth across the continent can have access to it.
Corruption is a vice that promotes the circle of poverty and must be fought .