Corruption is deadlier than most Kenyans realize.
For instance how safe can our borders be if a little bribe can get you across with all kinds of merchandise? Indeed there is a direct link between corruption and the number of Kenyans who die every year as a result of violent crime.
Not surprisingly Kenya is the number one drug trafficking country in the region and beyond. Cocaine, heroine and all manner of hard drugs flow freely in and out of Kenya. Many foreigners have quickly learnt the truism that there is absolutely nothing one cannot achieve in Kenya as long as you have plenty of cash.
One of our reporters on the ground was shocked two days ago while traveling on the Mombasa Nairobi road when the matatu he was on was stopped by half a dozen road blocks fairly close to each other. The procedure was the same at every road block. The driver handed over his driving license as the policeman (and in some instances policewoman) took it and went round the front to check their licenses on the windshield. Just before they arrived in Nairobi the driver struck up a conversation with the other passenger seated in the driver’s cabin and our source was shocked to learn that at every stop Kshs 100 had been handed over to the police. The driver grimly announced that there was no way they would have passed the roadblock without parting with the said sum of money.
This blog has been at the forefront of screaming about the extra-judicial killings the police have been accused of, more so during the tenure of police commissioner Brigadier Ali. However as painful as it is to have people killed without due process, sometimes when they are completely innocent and were simply at the wrong place at the wrong time, one can clearly see the wisdom of such a policy. The latest figures show that violent crime has fallen dramatically and it seems that many violent criminals have simply been executed.
Major General Ali was appointed police commissioner from the military early in the Kibaki tenure. The difference between soldiers and policemen incase you did not know is that policemen are trained to enforce the law while soldiers are trained to kill. As much as I hate to say it and as much as there have been terrible, terrible human rights violations, it seems that Ali’s tactics have worked after all.
That is the Kenya we live in.
And as quite a number of commentators here have quite rightly pointed out, we are calling for change in our leadership. BUT that change must start with us. How can we demand an end to corruption in high places when we greatly admire that girl next day who globe-trots trafficking drugs under the cover of being an international businesswoman? Or even worse we do not mind slipping Kshs 100 to that policeman to avoid the inconvenience of going to court to answer for our smooth tyres.
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