Why Bother, Is It Your Money?

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BY GIKONYO MACHARIA

Impunity thrives on impunity – a common question usually asked to whistle-blowers in cases of corruption is “why bother, is it your money?” I’ve always responded, “it might not be my money, but my conscience, which is priceless.”

Someone I was learning to respect asked me why I would bother to point out a corruption case when its not even my money involved. That’s just the point of impunity – why bother when it does not affect you directly? Impunity thrives on the ignorance and paralysis from fear (or both) to survive.

The fact that you know about it means that you are meant to do something about it and keeping quiet because it’s not your money is just plain damn. I might even think higher of you if you hustled for a cut, at least then you did something. I always say that it’s better to be reprimanded for doing something than nothing at all.

Why bother – it’s not even your money. That is the wrong premise if we are looking for a just society. It does not matter if the purveyors of this corruption are local or foreign. It is corruption and should be condemned. The question of whether the money is yours does not arise, because as they say in my tribe “there is no difference between a thief and the witness to the theft”.

So it might not be your money, but it is your conscience and you are an accomplice by virtue of knowing about it and doing nothing about it. Either way you are guilty by omission, which is worse than by commission.

It’s definitely not comfortable to do this. To point out a corruption case that might hurt people who are intimately known to you, but when you weigh the options and your conscience tells you that you should go ahead – then by all means go ahead and blow the whistle – in fact blow a vuvuzela for good measure.

Kenya will not be changed by cowards who are content to sit by and allow imperious officials go about their business of eating with little regard to the millions of Kenyans who suffer due to lack of access to proper sanitation, proper medical care, opportunities and generally deprived of a livelihood. We often keep quiet in the hope of being welcomed to the table to also eat what is not ours. The truth is that most of the time, you only sit at the periphery and eat the crumbs thrown at you on the floor. After all, you have not yet graduated to this high table – we still need to mentor you.

Why bother – it’s not even your money.

It might not be your money, but it might be money that was going to build a hospital that might benefit your long lost cousin who lives in abject poverty in ‘shags’, but because you are leaving a comfortable life – relatively – in Nairobi or some other urban place, it does not concern you for fear of being regarded as not ‘grown up enough’ to engage in corruption with impunity. I’m happy to remain in my blissful childhood then.

The new threat to democracy and a just society is not authoritarianism, neither is it fundamentalism, it is secrecy – so says the now famous Assange of wikileaks. Kenyans have been deliberately kept in the dark – in this vicious cycle to perpetuate elitism and servitude in Kenya; a class society. If you are not civilized (not of the right character) you don’t belong. That’s what corruption does; it denies you a chance at the behest of an already mega-rich but corrupt big fish.

Why bother – it’s not even your money.

Well I’ve got news for you, it’s your country, it’s your taxes, it’s your future, it’s your life – it’s your money too.
 

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  • EDWARD NYANARO

    This happens often in our homes when children both boys and girls suffer Rape from close relatives we need to treat the cases well to enable the childs growth not be further affected by the incident …. it was a nice MTV SHUGA addresses this issue. Kudos Nancy u are a great actress was a pleasure been on set 2gether

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