Just when election fever has started picking up in the country, the scenario has changed dramatically with the expose of the Anglo-Leasing scandal. This is an expose that has to go down in the annals of Kenyan media history as truly unique and unprecedented. Almost every other similar expose of this magnitude the world over has always stopped short of naming names. The Watergate scandal for instance, which brought down the Nixon government in the early 70s comes to mind.
The Anglo-leasing story in the Nation named names, and big names at that. Vice President Moody Awori, former powerful Minister for Internal security Chris Murungaru, Finance Minister David Mwiraria, former Justice Minister Kiraitu Murungi amongst a host of others.
Although there has to be another big story behind the Nation decision (see separate story) the Nation disclosure, whatever the motives should be commended by every Kenyan. The time has come for us to face the ghosts of the past and bury this guy called "corruption at high level" together with his close first cousin "going into politics to get rich."
We have always said in this blog that for Kenyans to face the future successfully, they must come to terms with the past and understand it. Corruption is a classic case in point. Kenyans have now realized that we have just been listening to empty rhetoric all along. We must now begin to understand why this cancer goes so deep into the fabric of our society that we cannot remove it surgically without out dismembering most of our body.
A brief history of Anglo-Leasing like Scandals is in order…
The government of President Jomo Kenyatta is just settling in at State House. However there is one concern that is rapidly emerging. For the infant government to fully establish itself it has to come to terms with the power that white land-owners have had in the country. The policy of Africanization that is mooted soon after is with the realization that real power and control can never be divorced from money and financial wealth. The policy is to help indigenous Africans acquire land that belonged to previously powerful white settlers. But what starts out as a noble idea quickly changes into something very different. Those close to the President use it to enrich themselves and their reasoning seems to make sense. In order to protect the government it is important that those with the wealth are close to the government.
In the years that follow, a number of Kenyans who are seen as real or imagined obstacles to this Africanization policy are brutually cut down. This is the reason for the famous JM statement, “I would not like to be in a Kenya of 10 millionaires and 10 million beggars.” JM’s remains (with the genitals cut off) are found by a Maasai herdsman one morning in 1975 somewhere in Ngong Hills, after days of a circus in which Kenyans were at one time made to believe that he was on an impromptu business trip to Zambia. It is instructive that JM was a former Press Secretary to President Kenyatta and must have observed at close quarters exactly what was going on.
Earlier, nationalist, Tom Mboya had what seen what was going on and had changeg his earlier views on how African countries should be governed and the need for a constitutionally powerful leader to act as a symbol of unity and a uniting factor for the people. He is too smart to confront the government directly but rumours abound in Nairobi. Some of them say that he will stand for President and expose all the evil in the forthcoming general elections. Nobody doubts his organizational abilities. Surely the man who brought the powerful colonial regime to its’ knees (and more than anybody else engineered independence for Kenya) should have no problem with the young Kenyatta government.
We will probably never be able to establish the truth of those rumours because Mboya never lived to see those elections. He stopped two bullets on a Nairobi street outside a chemist, in broad daylight, one afternoon July 5, 1969.
Daniel Arap Moi is acting as President after the sudden death of President Jomo Kenyatta in August 1978. The foreign press publishes a list of possible successors to Kenyatta. Moi is missing from that list which reads like a who’s who in Kenyatta’s kitchen cabinet.
Legend has it that Moi did not want the Presidency. “Wakikuyu watanimaliza.” (Kikuyu’s will finish me) he is said to have lamented. What Moi meant was that those powerful Kenyans who had enriched themselves through “the government policy of Africanization” would get rid of him in the same way that they had done with others. The brutal assassination of JM Kariuki had proved that this issue of corruption in high places was so deeply entrenched that even a tribes-mate who stood in the way could be snuffed out without a second thought. JM was a Kikuyu, just like the leading beneficiaries of “Africanization”.
Moi was never comfortable with the Kikuyu during his entire Presidency. Again the inner circle had to find ways and means to neutralize the immense wealth of what they saw as a political time bomb that could easily explode in their faces at any time. This policy which was carried out with extreme caution and almost reluctantly at first, was speeded up tremendously after the failed military coup of August 1982. This one was open to more Kenyans. All you had to do was get close to the center of power. Some of the biggest beneficiaries were Asian businessmen.
A full 40 years after independence, the same Anglo-leasing-like game continues. The Presidential baton passes on to an individual, who was a member of both the Kenyatta and Moi administrations.
Some Kenyans who hardly had a bank account worth mentioning when Moi came into power, are today multi-billionaires and they are seen as serious political threats and… (the rest you now know as the Anglo Leasing scandal).
So How Do You Fight Corruption in Kenya When…
- Some of the leading Kenyans in society today were born, bred and educated with corruption money, including some possible presidential candidates in the forthcoming general elections.
- All the richest people in the village made their money from politics, which in Kenyan dictionaries is synonymous with corruption.
- The richest families in Kenya today can trace their fortunes back to either the Kenyatta or Moi regime.
- Some readers of this blog were taken to expensive Ivy league colleges and other universities and are who they are today only because of corruption money… most of which is tainted with innocent blood, because some brave Kenyans had to die to ensure that the family wealth was protected.
In my opinion, the only way to end corruption in Kenya once and for all must begin with a Truth-and-Reconciliation-type tribunal to flush out all the ghosts of the past, even as the current perpetrators are prosecuted to the full extent of the law – whoever they are.