Mass Action: The Antidote to Corruption in Kenya

Published on 9th April 2019

Kenya’s civil society, the Church and political activists successfully mobilized peaceful protests to end the notorious KANU regime through the repeal of section (2a) of the Nyayo constitution. While such mass protests created enough pressure to change the trajectory of  Kenya’s politics by compelling retired President Moi to allow the repeal of the previous constitution, one wonders if the same can be applied to redeem the country from corruption!

According to a survey on social media groups, subscribers in Kenya and in the diaspora do agree that peaceful mass action nationwide is the only remaining option for the country to redeem itself from corruption. The survey shows that 92% of Kenyans in Europe, 91.4% in the USA and 91.5% in the homeland support mass mobilization to compel the government to act firmly on the war against the menace of corruption.

The working partnership between opposition figures and the government has been credited nurturing political calm in the country. It's however ironical, that the post-handshake period has seen corruption hit a crescendo!

One wonders if the looters may have gotten motivated to loot more after the thawing of political animosity between ODM leader Raila Odinga and President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Surprisingly, senior government officials have opposed President Kenyatta’s anti-corruption moves and publicly criticized two government institutions - (DCI) and the DPP who are investigating corruption.  

Deputy President William Ruto has openly politicized the anti-corruption crusade by equating it to succession politics of 2022. Anti-corruption initiatives can only work if the President and his deputy are united. A disjoined government cannot achieve anything tangible for the country.

Raila Odinga, has also found himself in a precarious situation as the NASA leader. Working with the government to unite the once divided country, he sometimes gets in a state of quandary especially when directing his war on the graft perpetrated by senior government officials.

Kenyans cannot remain in a queer street when the country is being mutilated…We can’t leave the anti-corruption war on the opposition or few government officials. We’ve to seize the moment as a people take charge through peaceful mass action. Perhaps this is the only language the corrupt will understand. Our country is sinking.

It's only in Kenya where you can get your driving license before joining a driving school. You can have your death certificate even before you die. In fact, you can comfortably attend a graduation ceremony in a graduation gown and be awarded a degree without attending a single lecture.

It can be remembered that no single corruption case involving high profile individual has been prosecuted to the end in Kenya.  From the infamous Goldenberg, Anglo-leasing to the current Kerio Valley Super Dams, Kenyans doesn’t see hope in the fight against corruption.

Our country is ripe for mass action and if the same will be sustained into a social movement to catapult a revolution for political change, it will be the best news for Kenyan and indeed a game changer.

Corruption is the central issue that has generated the impetus for Kenyans at home and abroad to organize mass action and to mobilize Kenyans in various forms of social, economic, and political participation.

Kenyans in the diaspora through the Kenya Patriotic Movement have coined the “redeem Kenya clarion” to organize for protests throughout the country.  

The chairman of the diaspora lobby, Kenya Patriotic movement says President Kenyatta only talks too much but doesn’t act. Mr. Joseph Lister Nyaringo observes that “eloquence without action is just hot air.” The President should fire all government officers and members of the cabinet whose names have been adversely mentioned in corrupt dealings.”

Mr. Owino Ndede, from New York, observes that the diaspora is prepared to educate Kenyans on the ills of corruption. “We shall create a platform for the people to engage proponents of corruption with the ultimate aim of eradicating the vice completely from our society.” Says Ndede in a phone interview.

Kenyans should know that the corruption war is their responsibility because the ruling elites have failed to contain the vice. As the majority, we have the capacity to stage demos throughout the country until the looters surrender, are prosecuted, jailed or gives up all they’ve looted.

The so-called elite do not grow their food, make their clothes or build their houses. They cannot live without the people, and yet they abuse the same people by pocketing the money they pay as taxes. It is high time the elite served the people!  

Mass action remains the only potent weapon to compel the looters to leave office or scale down their corrupt deals. If we want Kenya free of poverty and other social challenges, we must be prepared to fight corruption.

To succeed, we must stop over-depending on political leaders and even government agencies in the corruption war. Often times, government agencies are prone to manipulation and threats from the powers that be.

We call upon all Kenyans who hate corruption- government officials, the church, academic institutions, business people, and every living soul to come out and join hands so that together, we fight the monster of corruption because it is a national catastrophe.

By Owino Ndede and Joseph Lister Nyaringo

Officials of the Kenya Patriotic Movement, a diaspora lobby group. 

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