Submitted by Boniface Kimwere.
Most people from modest backgrounds are, undeniably, dazed by the brazen show of greed by Kenyan politicians. Indeed, it is unfathomable how politicians steal billions while a majority of Kenyans are yet to make their first million or even a hundred thousand.
In an inspirational and emotional masterpiece, the veteran journalist Philip Ochieng lamented that Kenya, as a nation, is “deeply crazed by personal greed for wealth of other individuals.” Ochieng indicated that “cash hunger has so crazed Kenya’s political class that members have lost all humility.” Most poor people have suffered in the very hands of elected leaders that are supposed to defend them and secure their economic interests.
In the past, it has been suggested that most politicians “suffer delusions of grandeur and absolute but forgivable ignorance.” The quest for quick cash has made Kenyan politicians ignorant, and they have now stooped to new lows. Annually, politicians rake millions, even billions, in kickbacks and unfortunately, they get this money from “overpriced tenders.” Unashamedly, Kenyan politicians use this ill-gotten wealth to build new mansions that, at times, according to Silas Nyanchwani exposes their “lack of intellectual depth.”
The scheme to steal billions of shillings from Kenyans is a well-orchestrated plan that involves various sanitization strategies. Politicians are always boasting about their “good deeds” and how they help orphans and other vulnerable people in the community. Sadly, most of the foundations that have been launched by politicians are non-existence and are merely “brief-case organizations with a website.”
It is sad that most politicians have been able to dupe Kenyans about their wealth and businesses. When one looks around, no single politician has been able to invent anything; however, they are always encouraging young people to be innovative. Unquestionably, Kenyan politicians are real estate enthusiasts and this sector does not require them to be exceedingly creative given that all the dirty work is left to construction companies.
Being a leader requires great sacrifice and it is clear that most Kenyan politicians do not possess this vital leadership quality.
Recently, Kenyans have been left to wonder how 1.9 billion shillings were lost from the National Cereal and Produce Board through dubious payments to eighteen brokers. On May, this year, 9 billion shillings were stolen from the National Youth Service and until now, the amount has not been recovered.
In October 2016, the Afya House Scandal rocked the country and it is estimated that Kenyans lost a whopping 5 billion shillings. In the same year, the much-hyped Galana Kulalu irrigation project lost more than 7.3 billion due to suspicious leasing agreements and poor productivity. There have been numerous scandals if one cares to count, and most of them have been well executed to steal billions from taxpayers and enrich the Kenyan political class.
Astoundingly, politicians linked with graft are still in government and some are even eyeing higher positions in the next general election.
It is not clear when Kenyan politicians will stop being greedy. A majority of them are amassing so much wealth than they can spend in their lifetimes. Many of them have stashed their wealth in safe havens where they can be able to make hefty withdrawals without raising an eyebrow. Meanwhile, poor Kenyans are made to pay for their flamboyant lifestyles through excessive and indiscriminate taxes.
Truly, Erich Fromm was on point when he stated that “greed is a bottomless pit which exhausts the person in an endless effort to satisfy their need without ever reaching satisfaction.” For now, one can only hope that Kenyan politicians will stop being greedy and instead, focus their energy on serving the electorate.
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