Fight against corruption!

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Corruption is a daily fact for many people, one of the world’s leading problems registered in over 90% of the world nations. Today we take a dive into this ugly virtue and as usual try and identify the role we as individuals play in contributing towards what surrounds us before we start pointing fingers to the full manifestations out there, those that we call the big fishes looting our economies left right and center.To bring us much closer to home, let’s look at the following short story.

There once were three individuals who all had qualified for a post, the most probable candidates for a certain position after a series of interviews. Having been torn which one among the three he was to pick, he decided to throw in a last practical take away test, he decided to give each of them an egg and asked them to find a place to break the egg and bring it back, the main condition, that they should do it in complete seclusion where no one saw them.

This appeared too easy a task for the 1st candidate who dashed and came back 10 minutes later having broken the egg, he mentioned he had come across a corner, checked and saw no one was watching and broke the egg, for him, time was of essence and he had to beat the rest on speed.

The second candidate took time and showed up the following day, he too finally had found a place to break the egg, he then went further to mention that he waited for everyone to go to sleep just to make sure risks of being spotted were minimal, and that the employer was free to confirm through whatever means just to confirm that he did his task diligently.

Two days went by the third candidate was nowhere to be seen, five days later, he returns with the egg still intact and gave it back,  “I could not find a place of seclusion where no one was watching, all the places I hide, the presence of God kept on following me”. He had failed to find the privacy he needed to carry out the task. The employer was so pleased to hear this that he gave him the job with no second thoughts, calling him “The right person for the job”.

We all fall in either one of the three categories above at one time or another, always switching teams for the most probable occasion forgetting that God is always watching and we are never alone.

Get the log off your eye before you point at those walking with specs in theirs.

Corruption simply means the practice of obtaining power, influence or other personal gains through illegitimate means, often at the expense of others, we can as well give it the perspective of an unconscionable advantage, profit or gain of injustice through the abuse of authority and power, this not just limited at the high levels but in all levels, some penetrating deep into our houses as well as our own self.

Corruption makes us victims of cognitive dissonance, meaning we constantly fail to see or relate the role play in feeding this menace, and when we do, we think it’s a drop in the ocean and forget that those bursting coffers out there with loots tacked away in safe havens also had time to ignore the logs in their own eyes and probably kept of seeing the specs in others, the looters on the other side fail to see the massive damaging effect, ranging from denying millions of their fundamental rights and freedoms, contribution to the perpetuation of poverty to hindering economic opportunities.

The effects of corruption are usually the same all over the world. People especially the poor suffer when resources are wasted, not to mention the economy as a whole and the inheritance culture we have created and are passing on to our children and the generations to follow.

It is thus important to understand corruption in and out, the different kinds out there, the kinds that have found spaces in us but we deem too subtle and identify how best we can eliminate it in us before it manifests as well as develop smart responses in all probable areas of our lives.

As we seek to shed some more light at all levels and areas of this malpractice, let’s not forget ourselves, the foundations of where it all begins, like little seeds of shrubs in our mental farms.

Notice that we all have some power within to combat corruption, in as much as most of the times think there isn’t much we can fix from where we sit, news flash corruption already has shoots and stamps in and around us, by the time you see it blossomed out there, it’s time to do a clean-up in your own yard, just to check, confirm and clear it’s relatives that could be residing in us.

Let’s take a dive into six levels we can combat corruption and highlight some of those practices we can employ to change both our personal lives and that of those we share the universe with.

Reducing corruption

  1. Self

It all begins with us is a statement we all have heard, it is such a light phrase but bears so much meaning.

We tend to forget that our conducts directly feed the societal norms and ab-norms.

We find ourselves practicing and forget how far our contributions go in shaping both our society and the world at large.

Corruption, no doubt bears a moral dimension. We need to think hard about how to instill the ethical and moral foundations of human behavior within us before we can teach the younger generation.

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We find ourselves paying monies to obtain favors but fail to understand how that all contributes to the corruption index of our economies, from the meter guy who shows up to disconnect your water or electricity to, exam paper bribery, tender malpractices to payments to secure jobs, tax evasion to traffic cop bribery, bribing our children with sweets and coins when we want to divert or sway their attention, all these traits only reflect not only our corrupt nature but the levels of corruption we’ve accepted, embraced and accommodated in our lives but yet failing to understand or relate our actions and their contributions to the greater corruption we keep complaining about out there and our poor economies which we keep complaining is dipping every year.

Give Caeser that which belongs to Caeser.  

Every citizen knowing their rights helps curb corruption, it enlightens one from a level of lack of knowledge, oppression and intimidation therefore giving everyone a fair platform to better themselves.

From this informed perspective, we can demand accountability from an informed perspective because we ourselves are doing something about it besides just complaining when corruption makes headlines on the papers.

Build upright morals, read more on the subject and surround ourselves with those we deem as persons with moral uprightness we wish to associate ourselves with.

An upright moral character deters the from stealing and rather adds the option to ask when in need, rather than help themselves on that which does not belong to them. What happened to respect of people’s properties?

Some people apparently believe they bear no responsibility and are under no obligation to participate in the joint response to the current world challenges.

 2.  Family and society.

Training our children to adopt sound morals, a sense of civic duty and service to humanity falls at the root of addressing a whole range of social ills, many of which contribute towards the path adapting corruption as a way of getting things done.

A 10 year old is sent to the shop to buy bread and use the 10 Shillings change to buy himself a pack of biscuits as a reward. The kid returns minutes later with a pack of biscuits in his hand and no bread, on asking him he replies, “there was no bread at the shops, so i got myself the biscuits and returned your change.”

Civil societies can support the process with initiatives similar to that of Transparency International campaigns like the so called “Unmask the Corrupt“.

Strengthening citizens demand for anti-corruption and empowering them to hold bodies accountable is a sustainable approach to build a mutual trust between citizens and government.

We as well need to understand the role of churches and other religious bodies that can positively influence the society against this malpractice.

3.  Academia.

Make corruption part and parcel of school curriculum, from the lower levels all the way to postgraduate. The countries leadership entrust the educated with top jobs and responsibilities, recognizing academia as a value adding factory for the citizens of the nation, this thus tasks academia that arms skills and knowledge to include this education as a raw material to mold a morally upright workforce.

Update and modernization of education in line with societal challenges as well as reinforce morally upright societal values.

4. Media

A free press media is an important ingredient that shines a light on corrupt practices always occurring in the dark away from the limelight of the society. They play a major role in all societies providing the fundamental function of how the society makes its choices.

At this point, we can with ease say that the fight against corruption is crippled without the involvement of an effective media who as well act as a tool for social justice that is not bound by the so called academic policies of fight against corruption.

Moreover, they provide an exterior view point that is critically important to the policy makers of any country and must thus be an integral partner in this whole fight against corruption.

5. Private and Business sector

The private sectors and businesses involved must work to ensure the services or goods availed to an economy are of acceptable standards and not compromised in any way or form to harm or exploit the populations, contaminated foods, medicines as well as those hidden and exaggerated charges that seem to build empires at the background to mention just but an isles of corruption in the society.

6. Government systems

The government carries the mammoth task in tackling corruption due to its sheer size and power to influence as well as enforce law and order, starting from the individuals holding offices, whose moral journeys must begin within themselves before they can role it to those working under them. The level of acceptance of corruption within these offices directly influence those working under the same office and stands a risk to spread to those working closely with the office.

There is need to engage citizens in the fight against corruption rather than imposing solutions with the assumption of one size fits all approach.

Avoid overgrown administrations that challenge efficiency as well as weighs its citizens in sustaining its existence.

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Governments with overgrown administrations, old and poor working systems overburdens its citizens.

There is need to build capacity of the staff as well as create awareness in connecting and relating the contribution of their action with their personal, social and economic repercussions.

Work towards efficient systems and structures eliminating bottlenecks that create avenues for bribes to get things moving. This works to avail the services required efficiently without having to pay bribes to obtain the same services the system should provide.

Punishing the corrupt is key for any effective anti-corruption body.

Act globally, join corruption fighting bodies

As for the award of tenders, competition accountability need be employed as well as transparency to comb out the corrupt ones, monitor rules and change the strategy of execution. Work towards combing out the corrupt from winning public contracts.

Corruption is not an island and neither is it a destination, it rides on essential services leaving tracks and skid-marks all over the systems.

We as well need to look at the other perspectives and identify areas where we can learn from.

It is difficult to fight corruption on empty stomachs with no jobs and salaries below standard, there is urgent need to prioritize and fix the economy. The mind always carry thoughts depending on whatever is burdening the bearer, when poverty and lack is what preoccupies the mind, it becomes technically difficult to hold thoughts of efficiency to the greater society and nation. A country that feeds and provides employment with good enough salaries gives its people the power to brainstorm and efficiently address its problems. Involvement of stakeholders to create jobs for the masses with attractive investor packages to open doors for job creators to rush in and take advantage of lucrative opportunities and at the same time provide resources locally to promote and nurture local businesses.
Avoid politicizing corruption, which has opponents go after one another at the expense of its citizens and the economy, having high level officials going after the middle and low level officials.

Use technologies that can monitor and detect transactions that need flagging in service delivery and businesses and if need be relay information to anti-corruption agencies whose conduct should be highly credible.

Tie in the banking systems as well as money transfer channels, they provide platforms for money transfers with complete details to the last cent, like uber mapping provides its management on routing, time taken, destination, passenger contacts and details, time, name it. Anything that involves transporting a passenger.

Strong legal framework enforcement supported by law enforcement.

End Impunity; Have effective law enforcement to ensure the corrupt are punished disconnecting them from the cycle of impunity with powers for asset recovery to reinstate loot back to where it was first meant for.

Establishing international conventions, in this globalized economy corruption tends to have a cross-border dimension, which necessitates the need to join international legal frameworks for corruption control.

Join Anti-Bribery Conventions like the multilateral treaty UN Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) with legally binding agreements that requires it’s member states to implement several anti-corruption measures with focus on the following key areas:, law enforcement, international cooperation, asset recovery, prevention technical assistance and information exchange

Understand that when you fight corruption, it fights back in a clever way, learn the ways it fights back, it’s traits and characteristics, in Kenya we change the subject and keep people busy with new developments, at-least that characteristic we have learnt and are well aware of it.

There is need to put minds together and formulate a reward system that perceive the morally upright as heros to be emulated at all levels mentioned above, this should tie with the corruption fueling motive of living a better life.

Conclusion

Keep your morals and win the corruption fights at the personal level, without following the multitudes that wish for a flashy life without caring the effect of their deeds to fellow citizens. Begin with where you are then take it a notch higher to your children, family and then the society, since nature has to strike a balance, the effects will be seen elsewhere in the same war against corruption.

No single drop of rain ever thinks it causes floods.

Be the change you want to see.

We all have a role to play in making better our lives, those of others and the systems that surround us, it is a collective action and responsibility that we cannot turn a blind eye on.

No one is born corrupt, Upbringing, exposure and hardships not excluding the challenges of survival go a long way in shaping this, education systems that ignore real life issues as well allows greed to feed off its victims.

 

Frank

Frank Odhiambo

Mind Grid Perspectives

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