Just as you can’t make an omelette without cracking eggs, in politics you can’t make progress without unsettling people a majority of whom would be your allies.
That is the way of the world. Human beings are inherently conservative, cautious and wary of change, so when a leader comes along with a plan to make a difference, there will always be resistance.
When Moses wanted to lead the children of Israel into the Promised Land, there were murmurs and dissent within the ranks. Some had become comfortable in the desert, others were fearful of the welcome that awaited them. They did not automatically follow.
When Jomo Kenyatta advocated for independence, not everybody went along with him. However, he pushed ahead regardless, and the ultimate result was an independent Kenya.
It should be no surprise therefore that when his son, President Uhuru Kenyatta launched an ambitious anti-corruption campaign –perhaps the boldest and most far reaching assault on the vice in modern history –there are those who stand on the side-lines and criticise.
The reaction by 40 MPs to President Kenyatta’s order to freeze the construction of all new government projects until stalled on ongoing projects are completed, should be taken in this context.
President Kenyatta’s decision, as part of his broader anti-graft crusade, was intended to stop resource waste and the habit of government agencies to abandon incomplete projects before embarking on others, while also limiting opportunities for corruption.
The MPs, led by South Mugirango’s Sylvanous Osoro, are unhappy with this. They argue that projects will now be sanctioned and monitored by the Office of the President, and that it will be Uhuru who decides which projects get the go ahead.
However, these MPs are missing the point. Our President has a plan to transform Kenya based on his Big Four agenda, to do this we need to utilize our scarce resources appropriately.
This means to eradicate corruption we must stop wastage in government. Any move that takes us one step closer to this should be applauded, not criticised.
This wasn’t the first time that Uhuru has faced criticism for his efforts in fighting corruption. Just a few weeks ago Kenya Power Managing Director Ken Tarus, his predecessor Ben Chumo and eight other senior managers were arrested over the acquisition of faulty transformers and irregular award of contracts. A group of MPs were highly critical of the arrests, suggesting they were “targeted at particular areas. It is all leaning to one side… individuals are just collateral…”
Putting aside the specifics of a case currently before the courts, it is clear that strong action needs to be taken if we are to win the fight against corruption. The huge sums of money supposedly involved in this case – Kenyans have lost up to Sh470 million due to the defective transformers – mean that there is a clear public interest in pursuing it.
Those arrested will always have their supporters, and it is all too easy for them to allege political interference, but this tendency must now stop. President Uhuru and the new no-nonsense Director of Public Prosecutions, Noordin Haji, are going after the corrupt without fear or favour, and again, they should have all of our support.
In fact, Uhuru was even criticised for his appointment of Haji. Not long after his appointment, some MPs described the appointment as “bad news” as he is difficult to influence. And yet, a few months later and with a series of high profile arrests under his belt, the public has now begun to see the value of a DPP who cannot be influenced.
While I am not calling on Uhuru to become a tyrant who is unmoved by reasonable criticism, he must also not be unduly influenced by it. Kenya has a mountain to climb in order to realise its potential, and that cannot be done without upsetting people.
Change always has its victims, and that cannot be ignored. But if the price of streamlined public budget and a vigorous fight against corruption will upset some MPs, then that is a price worth paying.
As a Country let’s support President Uhuru Kenyatta and urge him to ignore the critics, carry on with his reform agenda, the benefits will be felt by all of us.
The views expressed in this article don’t necessarily represent KBC’s opinion