What should be done to improve the morality and integrity of Kenyan leaders?

This is a question asked by one of the media houses yesterday on twitter.

My first answer was nothing. Trying to improve the morality of the present crop of Kenyan leaders would be akin to propping up a mature tree. Impossible. Maybe there are a few men and women of integrity in the different positions of leadership, but against a mob of inefficient, corrupt, sleazy, lazy and tribal colleagues, they are out gunned, out witted and out voiced, they can never be heard.

Is it all bleak?

The first solution in my view is to revolt. A system wide revolt with one single goal, to remove the current crop of leadership. The bigger problem with this is its success is never sure. Look at the example of Egypt or Libya though in each of this cases there could be other matters at play. Tunis is an example where the revolution seems to have led to some positive change. So I make this proposal but have a lot of misgivings for lives would be lost in a violent revolution and to what end?

Education. What type of education? An education that teaches people how to think and not what to think. The majority those who claim to have some education in this country, I am afraid, are not. They were trained to be machines. Their training is about how to follow orders, make yourself employable and nothing more. Their education did not train them to think and this has unfortunately led the dearth of thinkers and great statesmen and women.

Distribution of resources. The history of this country is one of systematic gross inequalities. The élite/ ruling classes have used their positions always to marginalize those not in power. No regime has ever focused on building a nation. It is tribe or communities against others. How would a person unable to put food on the table think about integrity when choosing their leaders? Anyone who promises to give them money, any amount, regardless of how corrupt or inefficient will get their vote. Improve the lives of every citizen, and they are sure to make proper choices, though not always, of who should lead them.

Institutions. If it were possible to purge all institutions of the corrupt and lazy officers, this would work. The police force wins almost yearly as the most corrupt arm of government. This is the arm charged with implementation of laws, how would you expect them to  perform? We get treated to a theatre of the absurd for the last almost four years of vetting in the judiciary. Judges and magistrates have been found wanting in integrity, how would we expect an already corrupt house to arbitrate on matters of integrity? There are scandals in house committees, committees that are to checking the government! You have cabinet secretaries who have difficulties obeying simple traffic rules, what would you expect of their performance in office? The presidential nominees to several bodies get rubber-stamped by parliament regardless of how poorly qualified the fellow is just to appease his tribe! What stupidity is this?

God. In the discussions we had, a few suggested that maybe god would solve the problem. I said an emphatic no. Not just because am godless, but because the politician sees himself as a god and only answerable to one. The politician must be made to know he is an employee of the people and only answerable to them, if he wants to answer to god, then he should become a member of the clergy.

And lastly I ventured to say that our media is part of the problem. They would want us to see them as holy Joe’s while they sleep with the politicians. They pretend to do exposes on political shenanigans only long enough to raise our anger and in the next moment they are again in bed with them doing their bidding. We get treated to several hours of idiotic speech from politicians in the name of fair play. If those who work in the media think they have something to offer, they should stay critical and above reproach or else stay quiet.

About makagutu

As Onyango Makagutu I am Kenyan, as far as I am a man, I am a citizen of the world

41 thoughts on “What should be done to improve the morality and integrity of Kenyan leaders?

  1. Mordanicus says:

    I agree, nothing could be done. Eduction is your only hope that the future leaders will be better than your current ones, though that is a very big guess.


  2. Tish Farrell says:

    I agree with all you say. I also think a constitution that started from scratch might help. It seems to me that no set of Kenyan leaders has taken ownership of governance. You can see how this might happen when at independence the new state was left with the dregs of a system that was designed to serve a small colonial elite. If you don’t feel a sense of ownership for a system – if it still seems to belong to someone else – then there’s an easy tendency to steal from it/take advantage. I’m not making excuses, but you can see how it happens. Also the wielders of power, whether up front or pulling the strings, are children of colonialism. They have a rather polluted mind-set I would suggest/ mission boys etc. They see the state as something to pilfer from, and especially when foreign nations, for their own ends, keep replenishing the coffers.


  3. Sonel says:

    I wish there was a god to smite down all those corrupt and power hungry leaders and not only because they see themselves as ‘gods’. Great post and points Mak. The media is definitely a huge part of the problem.

    Have a great day my friend. Going to watch movies now. 😀 ♥


  4. aguywithoutboxers says:

    First, this problem is universal, and not restricted to just Kenya. Worldwide, the power-elite are all focused on perpetuating the status-quo. I agree with your assessment, my Nairobi brother. The only way to bring about an immediate end to the problem is a radical revolution that cleanses the system from the top down.


  5. Well written post. I agree with your points. Too bad the great Golden Boot couldn’t come down and redden the asses of these a-hole politicians, eh?


  6. john zande says:

    The media is the problem. Without a healthy, vibrant, critical media politicians will run riot. I see it here, you see it there. I do not see it in Australia where the media is merciless in its criticism.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I agree with all your commenters, Tish, Sonel, boxerless et al.

    Having worked in the public sector I often think countries would be governed much better by officials and not politicians. Trouble is that gets rid of so-called democracy, litho ugh at least it would get rid of meddling politicians.

    Corruption is endemic. We kid ourselves if we think otherwise. There are lots of safeguards that say otherwise, but it still happens.

    As for the media, I often hang my head in shame at being one of that less than august body. Apart from the decline in written standards and some of the banal reporting we see, what hope do we have when Jo Public has more interest in Celebrity A shagging Celebrity B? Or wat hing reality TV or talentless shows? Who wants to read about serious news? Perhaps the public has turned to mindless crap because we feel we can’t affect the big things?

    * disclaimer: I do not watch reality shows, talentless shows or have any interest in other peoples’ sex lives.


    • makagutu says:

      I agree with all your commenters, Tish, Sonel, boxerless et al.

      and you disagree with me 😛

      I think the problem starts from the mistaken idea that there is democracy, that we have representatives of the people. Maybe in some countries there are, but am sure not mine. We have men and women elected as representatives of the people but that isn’t what they do.

      I don’t know how to resolve corruption. But as you say, it’s endemic.

      If you watched news here or read newspapers for just a day, you would want to shoot half the journalists and hang the other half. A bunch of ignoramuses


  8. ladysighs says:

    Clear and precise words and evaluation. Could fit about anyplace. 😦


  9. melouisef says:

    Tell me where on earth do you find an honest politician?


    • makagutu says:

      I am trying to look for one


    • In the grave. Only time you know they’re honest is when they’re dead. Hard to lie then. Though I’m sure many still try.


    • An honest politician is one who stays bought. That might sound very cynical, but think about it, the worst sort is the idealist who at the drop on any hat will change his stance because he thinks that the change will further his ideals. The politician who stays bought is one you can work with because you know where he’s at and where he’ll be tomorrow.
      The commenters who mentioned the former colonial status of Kenya also had a good point, the people of the governing generation have a background of corrupt government and of ‘liberating’ anything they can from a government that has already stolen all it has from the people anyway. Kenya was put together by those same colonials for their own purposes often with no regard for tribal boundaries or histories. And worse yet, should the nation decide to break up into tribal states, because of the conflicts that were encouraged by the colonials for the sake of control, it would be like putting together a room full of wet cats. We have the same problem in America but it is not as obvious because we all seem to be one bunch. We’re not.

      The only answer is to keep fighting for a strong country with a real government, and pass along your views on this matter.


      • melouisef says:

        So true. But the West is now paying the expensive price of having colonies. But of course they could not read the future. Or did not want to


      • makagutu says:

        The politician who stays bought, I like that. He will always be with the highest bidder. He has no ideals. He stands for one thing only, his stomach. I wish all of them were this honest.


  10. nannus says:

    Revolt or revolution is problematic, because in order to succeed, you have to install a system of power that suppresses your enemies. It is quite likely that in such a system, the next bunch of bad boys would take over. If you fail to install such a power system, you might end up with a civil war that could be very destructive and could wash religious muddleheads to the surface (look at what happened in Syria. It is likely that something like that would happen especially in a multi-ethnic and multi-religious state like Kenya. I think one should try everything to keep things as peaceful as possible.

    God is part of the problem, not part of the solution.

    The only thing I see is education, but that works very slowly. It might take decades or even centuries. Going into the direction of some kind of enlightenment is certainly the right thing, so I think you are on the right way.


    • makagutu says:

      Nannus you definitely are right. Revolutions are beset with problems.
      Education is the best way out even though it takes the longest time and requires a lot of dedicated people


  11. Good question. From my perspective, it is more accurate to see politics and large institutions as breeding grounds of corruption rather than trying to assess the morality of individual participants. Many candidates reaching positions of power did so with honorable intent only to be corrupted by the weight of the system itself. The old saying applies: “you have to go along to get along.”

    Therefore, political and institutional reform cannot be accomplished by seeking and placing trust in “altruistic” leaders. Rather, it is up to the larger population to hold power accountable. People must demand transparency in their leaders, and they must exert pressure to punish corrupt behavior. Democracy provides the basic platform; however, it has been greatly diminished in recent decades due to widespread public apathy and disillusionment.


    • makagutu says:

      Robert, many of our elected leaders get there by corrupting the electorate. Some of the non elected officials get there by being sycophants or the politicians returning favours. There are well quite a number who are there by merit but these are in the lower levels of power. They don’t make decisions.

      I agree the people must hold institutions responsible

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Nancy Oyula says:

    I agree with all of your suggestions but revolution. I don’t know if our country is ready for that like the Arab nations. A lot of blood is shed and property vandalized. There’s too much violence witnessed, it scares me.


    • makagutu says:

      It is always a good time for a revolution. The guys in Bukina got tired and sent the government packing, we should be able to do it, if we could rise above stupid.


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