Inclusiveness of Community Groups And Networks In The War on Graft
The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission has had a protracted engagement with diverse partners in its efforts to fight corruption and unethical conduct in Kenya. The engagement is premised on the Commission’s powers and functions under sections 11 & 13 of the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission Act, 2011 and other legal instruments, of enlisting the support of members of the public in the fight against corruption.
This effort is paying dividends. For example, several corruption allegation reports have reached the Commission courtesy of whistle-blowers based at the community/grass-root level. Such groups have also been able to conduct social audits on a number of projects where they have flagged out inherent anomalies that border on corruption.
Much more, these community organizations have organized and conducted sensitization programmes throughout the country either unilaterally or in partnership with the Commission, where they have reached out to hundreds of members of the public. In conformity with the anti-corruption content that these groups carry and disseminate, the Commission rebrands them and refers to them as Community Based Anti-Corruption Monitors (CBAMs).
One enduring truth is that the war on corruption can be successfully won if all Kenyans are included in the on-going anti-corruption initiatives. This is because corruption affects and/or infects everyone in terms of provision of social amenities, economic and political stability, environmental implications and legal frameworks in the country.
There have been divergent views on whether the fight against corruption should begin from the elite (the top) or from the general public (the bottom). However, the general consensus is that every Kenyan must be targeted. Whether in the public or private sector, state actor or non-state actor, religious group or secular association, state-employed or self-employed, government agency or private company, county government or national government…, right from the basic unit of the society, the family, we all have to fight corruption as if it’s annihilation all depended on us. To embrace this attitude of owning the fight against corruption is to spur every Kenyan to, in their private space, watch out to ensure an integrity-driven life at all times.
In its 2018-2023 Strategic Plan, the Commission, under the strategic objective of ‘to enhance public education, communication and awareness’, has prioritized community networks as one perspective of achieving its mandate of fighting corruption. The projected networks include civil society organizations, community-based organizations, women and youth organizations, religious movements, table banking associations and professional networks among others. Across the country, the Commission continues to look out for these and similar networks which can be carriers for anti-corruption agenda. These networks are in turn trained, empowered and charged to partner with the Commission in the fight against corruption.
Periodically, the Commission also monitors the effectiveness of CBAMs to encourage their diligence and to update them on the prevailing strategies for fighting corruption. The monitoring consists of short discussions and feedback exercises whereby challenges and concerns are raised and resolved. This way, both the Commission and CBAMs share the interest and burden of eradicating corruption in the society. Often, when there is a landmark determination of corruption cases in courts, especially where suspects are tasked to return public money, both the CBAMs and the Commission share commendations for the respective roles they played in the entire chain in the quest for justice. The Commission is appealing to all Kenyans to rally together and through their diverse networks, partner with the Commission in fighting corruption.
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