In Kenya, it’s not fake news, it’s fake dues

During the last election in Kenya, we were hit by waves upon waves of fake news articles. We received fake pictures of Raila. We received fake pictures of Uhuru. Fake websites were set up. Fake Facebook pages and fake Twitter pages were aplenty.

However, as we are now deep into 2018, the issues ripping the soul out of our nation are focused less on fake news, but on fake dues. Fake receipts to the NYS. Fake components to Kenyan power. Fake pieces of land for the SGR. Fake companies, fake contracts, and fake projects.

Well it is time we all got real. Real jobs and real projects for the sake of real progress.

I take my hat off to Uhuru Kenyatta and his inner team. They have decided to take it upon themselves to fight what appears an unwinnable battle. They are pursuing the cartels and crooked individuals who have had a serious head start. It is like playing a game of football where you have to compete with half the players of the other team, and even then, your players are blindfolded.

Luckily leading the players is a new Director of Public Prosecutions who is willing to feel around in the dark until he finds what he is looking for. With a background and decades of experience in the intelligence services he knows how to sniff out the fakes. He is skilled in finding the false documents, tracing down the paper trails, and acting on his convictions to arrest those who have broken the law.

With the destruction of the Southend mall, a warning shot has been sent across the bows of all those who think they are above the law. Some may believe they have gotten away with it. But from low government officers to governors, more and more are falling into the traps laid out before them.

The National Land Commission Chairman Muhammad Swazuri felt untouchable. Evans Kidero believed he was unassailable, impervious, in a league of his own. But not anymore.

But surely they will not touch the Chinese projects the thought? This was the underlying view of all those involved in the SGR project. The Asian input is too crucial, their investment just too important. Not anymore. Even the mighty power of the East is no match for Uhuru’s new campaign.

There cannot be a ‘get out of jail free’ card.

Our county governors even had the audacity to ask for immunity! During the height of a campaign against corruption focusing on elected officials, such a request in itself is worthy of opening an investigation! It is like a collection of dirty football players with reputations for disregarding the rules, writing to the referees’ association before a big tournament to request immunity from red cards!

Truth, honesty and openness will be the keys to opening the chest of a new Kenya; free of fake dues, free of corruption.

The steps requiring all procurement officials to undergo strict interrogations including the use of lie detectors is an excellent step. Even if the science is not 100 per cent, any official who is tasked with spending such large sums of money on behalf of the State needs to know that he or she is being watched with the mother of all magnifying glasses.

We must all make this battle ours. We must take part in it as if it was the last chance to save our children from a future of fraud.

Accountants, look out for the phoney bookkeeping. Lawyers, look out for those fake contracts. Teachers, doctors and public servants – when you see something fishy, report it. Unearthing the truth must be a concerted and combined effort.

“I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word”. Martin Luther King says it better than anyone as always. One cannot love their Kenyan brother or sister while stealing from them. One cannot uncover fake and fraudulent documents and deals without seeking the truth at every turn.

With this new battle against corruption, Kenya is being given a real opportunity to leave a dark, dark place. A place where graft and theft are the norm. A place, which lacks hope. A place, which lacks dreams.

In order to grab this opportunity with both hands, we must disregard the false, and embrace the true. We must say no to the ‘fake’, and as a nation, we must get real.

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