President Uhuru Kenyatta’s fight against corruption is a vital component of a forceful agenda that will revitalise our nation’s economy, which some claim wastes around a third of our total budget.
However, he cannot do this alone and has asked all Kenyans to join in this war on graft as part of their civic duty. “I appeal to all Kenyans to join me in the war that we have started, to vanquish corruption,” Uhuru said when he launched the anti-corruption drive.
While each of us has a role to play, political and civic leaders can also make a great contribution.
Moreover, he has bravely and calmly reached across the aisle to ensure that there are no gaping holes in this agenda.
By reaching out to ODM leader Raila Odinga, Uhuru has demonstrated to the whole country that this issue can and should be far above any narrow politics or rivalry.
While the Building Bridges Initiative is an attempt to improve Kenya in many different areas, the issue of fighting corruption will be front and centre. ODM leaders like Homa Bay Woman Representative Gladys Wanga have given their unwavering support for President Kenyatta to ensure that he fulfils his pre-election promises for the benefit of all Kenyans, especially in the fight against corruption.
Raila himself spoke recently during an event at Cambridge University about why it is important for him to join Uhuru’s campaign against corruption.
“Some politicians have developed on foundations which we (both) are now seeking to shake and rebuild. Many others were hoping to make careers out of that same foundation, but we agreed we must make these changes if we are to have a nation,” explained Raila.
This is the crux of the agenda that Uhuru has laid before the nation and is what has led to his outstretched hand to his former political opponent.
A strong leader with vision will put their nation’s interests above their own. While I am certain he still has many disagreements with Raila, it is better to work with leaders who command large support than keep them on the outside.
Other leaders, like Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka have also given their full backing for Uhuru’s plan.
Uhuru needs to be fighting on one front, against corruption, rather than being bogged down on another front dealing with petty squabbles and politics. The president himself has likened this battle to a war and in particular, the battle against colonialism.
“Our forefathers resolve to destroy the yoke of colonialism is what gave birth to our beloved nation,” Uhuru said. “I have resolved to lead this nation in getting rid of corruption and division, the main challenges we face today, just like colonialism was then. I appeal to all Kenyans to join me in the war that we have started, to vanquish corruption.”
Uhuru knows that disparate figures from many different walks of life and backgrounds joined together to fight and end colonialism and free the Kenyan people from foreign rule, including his and Raila’s father, both of whom were so instrumental in creating the modern Republic of Kenya where they both served in senior positions during those nascent years.
Uhuru has learned a lot from his father, Jomo Kenyatta, that to win any war there must be unity of purpose among the nation. It is important to note that he sees the fight against corruption and division as twin and indivisible threats to the nation and it will be impossible to fight one without the other.
That is why his outreach to opposition leaders like Raila is so vital. The nation needs to move as one, with one voice, to end corruption at all levels.
The saying “United we stand, divided we fall” was true of the wars against colonialism and it is true now.
Uhuru has already achieved an almost unprecedented consensus in the war against corruption, with a few naysayers still living in the past.
This will frighten those involved in corruption far more than anything else because they were able to thrive on division.
The union of Uhuru and Raila is a winning combination which will help end the war and make corruption a part of Kenya’s history.