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By KWAME OWINO
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or a long time, I had believed that no institution created by the Constitution of Kenya was as ill-conceived and run with the deliberate desire to avoid logic as the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC).

Nothing demonstrates the poverty of ideas and cluelessness of the the EACC commissioners and staff more than the idea, last week, to introduce a handbook on the study of religious books as a way to stopping corruption in Kenya.

Quite apart from the poor conception of the idea, the EACC considers this new move as its contribution to the ongoing shuffle by state institutions from the president’s office, the Directorate of Public Prosecutions, the Kenya Police Service, and the judiciary, all in the activity known as the ”war against corruption”.

Kenyans facing a Parliament and an executive that raised the tax rates one week before this move by the EACC have to ask why we should waste public money on institutions such as the EACC.

Based on its latest idea of providing a guide book for scriptural study, this institution is managed and guided by ignoramuses who must be forgiven for they do not even know what their constitutional role is.

By resorting to the injunction to God as the response to a manmade and man-enabled problem such as corruption, the EACC lost my confidence.

This desperate behaviour demonstrates that the officers of the EACC and its commissioners do not even appreciate the nature of public sector corruption in the first instance.

Indeed, the corrupt in Kenya are exhibiting a dead conscience, seen in their greed for public money and property, but the resort to preaching to them is dangerous nonsense.

It is not true that those who openly steal public property and carry it away in gunny bags to buy property are driven to crime because they didn’t attend sufficient Sunday school lessons in their youth and childhood.

In addition, focusing on the theory that weak ethics is the enabler of corruption betrays their belief in the canard that it is the fault of people outside government and public sector officers that Kenya is a nation of corrupt leaders.

Because the government has three main arms, the people responsible for corruption in the public sector are the president, the two speakers of Parliament and the Chief Justice of the Judiciary in that order, based on the endowments through the budget.

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Perhaps scriptural study sessions with these leaders may be good public relations, but trying to suggest that Kenya can pray its way out of corruption is to let the leadership of state institutions get away with either supporting corruption or letting their staff steal with impunity.

Given the regular detailed reports from the Office of the Auditor General, if the president, the speakers and the Chief Justice didn’t understand the most corrupt departments in their institutions, then they would not be worthy of their jobs.

The EACC ought to be able to confront the heads of the different arms of government on this without prevarication and innuendo.

Corruption is pervasive because of the tacit support or nonchalant attitude of these four people together with the 47 county governors. This is because the state dysfunction that supports rapidly expanding expenditure hand-in-hand with escalation of corruption is the real cause of corruption, and not the absence of ethical lenses among state officers and public sector workers.

This approach also presumes that people in the public sector are less moral than those in the private sector, an image that collapses when we see professionals from the private sector join the looting as soon as they are confirmed in offices either as principal or cabinet secretaries.

It ought to be evident to the EACC and its commissioners that moral armament and cultural engineering are good optics, but the pervasive corruption is a symptom of state dysfunction.

An institution whose leadership cannot understand the nature of the problem it is set up to solve will embark upon very creative things with dubious value such as developing special bible study material, when the problem is actually structural.

It is beyond doubt that even if the EACC and its equally hapless counterpart the National Cohesion and Integration Commission were abolished today, Kenya would not be the worse for it.
Perhaps they should just be abolished and the public be accorded a tax cut for the money saved



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