There is a well-known English proverb with biblical origins that says: “None so deaf as those that will not hear, none so blind as those that will not see.”
It means that the most deluded people are those who choose to ignore what they already know or see with their own eyes.
I thought about this quote when I read the latest startling revelations surrounding the two cases against former Kenya Power managers.
According to witness statements filed in court, Kenya Power awarded multi-million shilling contracts for provision of labour and transport services to unqualified companies.
Kenya Power’s general manager for internal audit, Charles Cheruiyot, said in his statement that his office received information that some employees owned the companies that were trading with the power utility firm, and that their investigations unearthed the details that led to the charges.
According to Mr Cheruiyot, 67 companies that were awarded contracts were owned by the power firm’s directors while 39 were given jobs despite being incorporated after the tenders for labour and transportation had been issued.
“We found that nine firms had key employees being Kenya Power staff and the decision of the tender evaluation committee to include them and evaluate their bids was inappropriate. We also found that more than 67 per cent of the companies did not meet the required qualifications,” Cheruiyot said.
That a company as big and as well-known was able to get away with such fraud for so long could be seen as an indictment on our society and how many people have looked away for far too long when corruption, fraud and graft are perpetrated.
The Republic of Kenya it is fair to say has had a corruption problem for many years, if not many decades. It’s so widespread it has almost become part of our DNA, and that is why far too many Kenyans look away or consent to a reality where corruption is acceptable or at least not deemed unacceptable enough.
For the war on corruption to be successful we must root out this sickness from within our society, at all levels.
This is why President Uhuru Kenyatta has not just focused on Kenya’s bigwigs and hierarchy but has often spoken about how corruption has entered so many levels of society as a breach of trust and not just a stealing from the public purse.
We have to expel it from our homes and our communities. We have to follow President Kenyatta’s call to arms and to act, and to say enough. We can not complain or tut when hearing about what a member of the government or security services does and then turn a blind eye in our own lives.
We should heed the words of our President and get serious about corruption in order to root it out. He is certainly doing his bit from the top with the arrest of senior officials and creating new means of oversight to government procurement and tenders, but he can not be everywhere at once.
He needs tens of millions of us Kenyans to be the eyes and ears, not of the president, but of a new Kenya that stands against corruption wherever it arises. We should not ignore something because we deem it too small, because it can eventually become big.
The Kenyan people should no longer be deaf or blind to corruption, but join with our president in ridding our society of this grave ill once and for all.
The views expressed in this article don’t necessarily represent KBC’s opinion.