What the NYS cases reveal to us about graft
Ann Wambere Wanjiku Ngirita. She is said to have been paid Sh59 million for supplying nothing to the National Youth Service. The faces in the NYS scandal are a sharp contrast to the usual millionaire suspects we are used to seeing in Goldenberg or Anglo Leasing cases, for example
Ann Wambere Wanjiku Ngirita. She is said to have been paid Sh59 million for supplying nothing to the National Youth Service. The faces in the NYS scandal are a sharp contrast to the usual millionaire suspects we are used to seeing in Goldenberg or Anglo Leasing cases, for example.
The National Youth Service (NYS) scandals should hardly be the butt of jokes given the huge amounts of taxpayers’ money said to have been lost.
The latest round of arrests of suspects have seen quite a number locked up in remand prison, and watching anyone losing his or her freedom for whatever reason isn’t exactly funny.
But the treacherous nature of the dealings and the diverse personalities involved means there are always little nuggets of humour here and there in the affidavits that cartoonists or comedy scriptwriters can work with.
The most memorable scene from the first episode is that of Josephine Kabura, a harmless-looking hairdresser, walking into a banking hall in Nairobi, walking out to a waiting car in the basement carrying sacks of cash in both hands and ferrying the loot to some quarry out there in Ongata Rongai.
The highlight of the sequel features the flashy but equally harmless-looking Anne Ngirita and her horny police investigator-cum-business partner.
After a few hours of grilling at a boring city restaurant in the presence of the young woman’s family members, the investigating officer at some stage suggests it would be more interesting taking a statement from his tattooed-arm suspect from the privacy his bedroom.
But how did two harmless-looking young women become the unlikely stars in an intriguing Kenyan corruption saga in the first place?
Of course, an answer can only be found upon the conclusion of the cases currently before court. But a quick scan of the courtroom the next time the suspects appear in court will offer some hints.
Apart from the senior public servants and a few “tenderpreneurship” fat cats, the rest are young people and market-type women you don’t normally associate with multi-million shilling graft allegations.
The NYS faces are a sharp contrast to the usual millionaire suspects we are used to seeing in Goldenberg or Anglo Leasing cases, for example.
But the circumstances of their troubles couldn’t be more similar. As part of efforts to address social exclusion in society, Kenya has in recent years pursued affirmative action policies to uplift the economic status of the youth and women.
The most radical of these policies is the Access to Government Procurement and Opportunities (AGPO) Act which, among other things, requires that 30 per cent of State tenders go to businesses owned by the youth, women and other marginalised groups. Kenya being Kenya, some very privileged people are known to have taken advantage of the legal ambiguities in the policy to directly benefit from the quota or win the tenders through proxies.
And as the NYS scandals have demonstrated, the equalising effect of affirmative action policies in the country extends to corruption.
The youth and women who get the opportunity to do business with the government want to get rich quick as well.
Commentator… By Otieno Otieno
Intuition can reduce corruption, By Felix Kunda
The country, Zambia at the moment has very few opinion leaders who can be inspirational to the young generation. All the famous and important personalities who held important offices are either facing corruption charges, convicted, or under investigation by the Anti-Corruption Commission.
Going by the media reports, and the court cases that are going on, there is rampant corruption in Zambia at every level in government, the private sector, and perhaps even in Non-Governmental Organisations. The country is in an intensive care, sick with corruption, and there is a need for a vaccine to end this pandemic.
To confirm the prevailing problem, the Drug Enforcement Commission announced that it seized 41 bank accounts from various commercial banks worth 174 million Kwacha and 19 million United States Dollars. These are huge sums of money, that were meant to uplift the living standard of the 80 percent of poor people in Zambia.
As if this is not nauseating enough, Anti-Corruption Commission Head of Corporate Communications Timothy Moono informed the nation that by the end of November 2022, the commission had a total of 1,264 cases under investigation, and out of these 284 cases were concluded.
And 1973 to 1978 Bahati Constituency Member of parliament under the United Independence Party (UNIP) former Member of Parliament Honourable Valentine Kayope said top civil servants and political leaders who are involved in corruption luck vision of why they are occupying such important positions in government.
Honourable Kayope who also served the same constituency from 1996 to 2001 under the Movement for multi-party democracy (MMD) said leadership is a gift from God, and immediately leaders convince themselves that they are in those position as their own efforts derails them on their responsibilities of serving the people.
Mr. Kayope who also served as Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister under Dr. Frederick Chiluba’s government said those in top positions are there to serve the poor people and not to serve themselves. He said the people that those leaders are serving constantly observe their leaders and immediately they notice selfishness among the leaders, they are the ones that blow the whistles.
He said, leadership is about transparent and accountability, immediately that is lost, people will start speculating and these are the people that will report to institution because it is their resources being abused. “Amenso yamukundilwa yengi,” he said. The resources are for the Zambians and not the leadership or top civil servants.
Needless to say that the consequences of those involved in these corrupt practices are depressing and stressing, and human beings can avoid corruption by using intuition. Intuition are extra-ordinary powers of the mind that is readily available and helps in making difficult decisions.
According to Laura Day in her book Practical Intuition, “intuition is a capacity you are born with as a human being, like the capacity for language or thinking or appreciating music. Intuition is not a power one acquires. It is an integral part of every human mental, emotional, and psychical process.
You use your intuition in practical reasoned decisions you make every day, from choices such as which bus to use, as to what to eat for supper, when to visit the village, or who to marry. Most people use intuition unconsciously every day, while some have learned to use it with precision and accuracy.
It is therefore true and accurate that all the Zambian individual who are currently appearing in court for corruption, were warned by their intuition not to participate in corrupt practices. Intuition is always there with us as human beings, which others call a small voice within ourselves. However humans tend to ignore the early warnings through intuition, simply because of selfishness.
For all those in leadership and the top civil servants, Intuition is not limited by space and time, and one can always rely on an intuition in making a difficulty decision. Intuition can protect you from a bribe or participating in corrupt practices.
World Down Syndrome Day: As the search for inclusion continues by Adaoha Ugo-Ngadi
Every year, as World Down Syndrome Day is commemorated, I find myself deep in introspection, reflecting on those who, by a unique design of nature, is born to a world where their difference has too often been made a barrier to inclusion and acceptance. Hundreds of thousands of children with Down Syndrome are stigmatized, and denied access to education, healthcare, and full social integration. I reflect on opportunities lost to their exclusion, a blight on our collective humanity.
World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD), commemorated on March 21, is a global awareness day that the United Nations has officially observed since 2012. It was selected to signify the uniqueness of the triplication (trisomy) of the 21st chromosome which causes Down syndrome.
I am glad that the theme for this year’s commemoration is ‘We Decide’, which focuses on the right of people with Down Syndrome to participate. I strongly believe this is apt. It reinforces the call for all of society to include and fully involve those living with Down Syndrome.
I have often wondered how much more progress we would have had the world over if people who are differently abled were not left out of the course of building society, but integrated to express their natural gifts.
All across the globe, there is an abundance of documented stories of exclusion, abuse, and displacement. In parts of Africa, people living with Down Syndrome are considered taboo over superstitious beliefs that they are not normal. This shatters the soul. Oh, how the hold of ignorance has deprived our people of the capacity to appreciate and welcome nature’s unique design!
Given the level of ignorance and misinformation around Down Syndrome, it is important that a concerted effort must be made to embark on widespread enlightenment campaigns, orientation, and education in multiple domains.
Schools, medical institutions, religious institutions, cultural institutions, and political institutions must all be included. We must work hard to open the eyes of people to the true facts about Down Syndrome, leading them to a new level of enlightenment and acceptance.
To truly build a society that is inclusive of everyone, especially those who are different and special, we must empower all the people with knowledge and insights into the unique attributes of these oft-marginalized set of people. They must be educated to accept and welcome them into the heart of society, becoming their brothers and sisters indeed.
But more importantly, mankind must quickly appreciate that the best approach to deal with the vulnerable is to sufficiently learn or perfect how to connect with them. This is the way of humanity. This is the way of progress.
For governments across the world, clear policies and laws must be passed to integrate, support and empower people with Down Syndrome. Their fate must not be left to the voluntary goodwill of the people. Their rights must be codified and enforced. They must not be subject to discrimination, stigmatization, and exclusion. Their lives are valuable. Their lives are priceless.
This fight is for all of us. We must treat it as a sacred responsibility. Every person living with Down Syndrome must cease to have a target on their back, and instead become a normal part of the global family. We must decide this today!
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