Resurgence in corruption will suffocate economy

David Wanjala Corruption takes various forms including graft, bribery, embezzlement and extortion and, according to Stanford Graduate School of Business, it leads to a diminished business climate especially when the public trust is eroded. Sadly, in Kenya, the vice is manifest in all its forms intensely you cannot point out one as the least or leading form. That is the extent to which our economy is exposed. It is so bad that any development taking place is by happenstance with most ongoing projects being leftovers of the last regime. It is a replica of the first term in office of President Kibaki, only that the intensity in looting with this government is higher, exposing business environment to untold shockwaves. To start with, resources are being tampered with and used improperly and as such, the efficiency of businesses is badly affected. When business professionals are caught in the act like when bank employees conspire to launder money with official mandarins as in the NYS scandal, the public loses trust and huge business resources are expended on monitoring the fallout. The real value of lost business opportunities from diminished investor confidence in the last three years will never be known to Kenyans, what one can be assured of is Kenya is losing out big time to its neighbours following breaking news of fresh scandals every sunrise. “Whether you are seeking investment to grow your firm or you sell investments for a living, you will have a much harder time finding willing investors when bribes or in-kind favors are required, or your business has a history of corruption within its ranks,” writes Linda Ray of Demand Media. Increase in crime is yet another fruit of the tree of corruption. “The trickledown effect of corruption usually ends up feeding black market interests, and may even support the efforts of organized crime as the activities infiltrate various business levels. Corruption begets continued criminal activity when it goes undetected,” Linda writes, painting a true portrait of what is unfolding in Kenya. It goes a long way to keep potential investors at bay. The biggest tragedy however, is that, one; we are not ashamed of corruption. A police officer, for instance, will openly demand and get a bribe of Sh50 from a PSV crew without batting an eye or feeling demeaned and two; we glorify thievery. Ann Waiguru, the disgraced former CS of Devolution still pulls a crowd of admirers whenever she’s summoned to the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission offices for questioning. It is high time we began seeing corruption for what it is, and appreciate its ability to bleed Kenya to its knees. It is only until then that we will take up arms and confront the dragon with the deserved vigour.

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