Uhuru’s war to make Kenya a better place more than just about graft

President Uhuru Kenyatta’s war against corruption is not just about preventing theft and graft, but about preventing abuse of authority of all forms, especially that which breaks public trust.

During his recent Madaraka Day speech, Uhuru said that he will do his part as President to turn government into an instrument that truly serves the citizens, and that respects the sacred responsibility to build Kenya into a truly prosperous, fair and honest country.

He said: “You, as citizens, should take up this fight as a key responsibility of your citizenship.”

Uhuru mentioned the many ways that individual citizens can overcome evil by providing information and stopping these acts in their tracks. He especially singled out the harm that a teacher can do to a pupil as one of the greatest ills of our society and citizens should help put a stop to it.

Like any parent, Uhuru knows that we place a lot of trust when we hand over our children to the care and education of teachers and it is a bond that can be the greatest good or the ultimate bad. That is why we must remain vigilant if a teacher steps outsides the boundaries of their job and position, or worse.

Parents and pupils in Toi Primary School pupils in Kibera have taken Uhuru’s words to heart and are accusing a teacher of sexually molesting young learners. The teacher in question admitted his crimes and the pupil was taken to Nairobi Women’s Hospital, where the wounds were confirmed to be as a result of rape.

On Tuesday morning, the nearly 500 pupils of the school demonstrated against the 31-year-old teacher, calling on authorities to punish him.

Parents say the sexual assault occurred on Saturday. “On Saturdays, the pupils learn until lunch hour and leave for home. The rape occurred after the other pupils had left for home,” the parents say.

The hospital alerted the Kilimani Police Station but before the officers could arrest the suspect, incensed parents stormed his home. “We had been monitoring him since morning, got there at around 11 and took him to the police station,” said another parent. Going by the accounts of multiple parents, the boy’s revelations have encouraged more of the teacher’s victims, who would otherwise never have spoken up, to talk.

“So far three more boys and one girl have come forward, but we suspect there could be more victims,” notes Kate Wangui, a rights activist who is one of those mounting pressure on the police and school administration. One of the sexually assaulted boys is disabled.

While this is a deeply harrowing incident, the way it was handled was in line with what Uhuru is calling for. There was no mob justice, the incensed parents performed a citizen’s arrest and ensured that the offending teacher was taken to police custody to await trial.

This is about ensuring that fairness and honesty are not taken advantage of, whether the corrupt official or the abusing parent. That is why Uhuru grouped them together in his landmark speech.

It is one thing to go after the money that was stolen, assets that were grafted or government tenders that were mismanaged. However, the problems in our society go way beyond and our president is correct in saying that we all have a responsibility to play a role in correcting and bettering our country and surroundings.

Uhuru believes that Kenya can be a better country because he believes in its people. He knows we do not have to resort to a mob mentality when we see injustice and we are a nation of law. Even this sexual-abusive teacher will receive a full trial as is his right as a citizen, and if convicted, an appropriate punishment.

“The truth is that we are facing a grave threat to our moral basis as a people, from government down to the family,” Uhuru said. “From leaders to parents, from corporates to individual citizens, we have a role to fight for our honour so that our country can prosper.”

“Your providing information will be key to us nailing the perpetrators of corruption; your resolve to withdraw respect and deny and honour to those guilty will be the most powerful blow to preventing this vice.”

The people of Kibera showed how this can be done, and with Uhuru’s words as our moral guide we can put on notice all those who use their power for bad, abuse their authority or break the law and harm others.

GODFREY OKOTH :