from: Joachim Omolo Ouko
News Dispatch with Omolo Joachim
FRIDAY, JUNE 12, 2014
Samuel from Eldoret writes: “Father Omolo Ouko thank you for your input on this year’s budget. You well put it that ordinary Kenyans are the ones suffering most due to massive corruption in Kenya. In your opinion, why do you think the government of Kenya is unwilling to fight root causes of corruption?
In one of your articles I read recently online is that the government is just going after people who eat meat on bones the actual looters have thrown to them. The government’s fight on corruption does not target real people who go with meat. In this was Kenya will never succeed on fight against corruption.
The country has continued to perform poorly in the fight against the problem because they just focus on people struggling to eat meat in between bones. Global watchdog Transparency International has ranked Kenya lower than her eastern Africa neighbours. This is despite being the largest economy in the region.
At the grassroots, corruption has been devolved to the counties with the local leaders engaging in a vociferous spending spree on largesse. In other words, corruption is everywhere in Kenya. It affects all sectors.
I wonder whether Kenya will one day get good leaders who will not only improve the cost of living, but also eradicate the endemic problems of insecurity and corruption. Thank you Father and keep on sharing with us matters pertaining to our country Kenya I love dearly.”
Thank you for your sentiments Samuel. When Hon Martha Karua was asked on what her leadership as the 4th President of Kenya would offer Kenyans, her first answer was to improve the cost of living in Kenya which had become almost unbearable with inflation rates rising by over 10percent just that year (2012) alone.
Karua referred to an editorial cartoon that best illustrated the conditions facing many Kenyans. It showed five characters, three adults labeled maize, sugar, rent and one child labeled salary. Off the side of these four was another character asking the ‘child’, while pointing to the three adults, why haven’t you grown up like your ‘friends’?
Although there is nothing humorous about what many Kenyans are facing today, the painful reality of increasing costs according to Karua is one that needs to be urgently addressed and one that she would prioritize in her administration.
Whereas the cost of living has in general risen around the globe, she believes that the levels of corruption and impunity in Kenya significantly contribute to the high costs in certain items. For instance, the maize industry faced a huge corruption scandal and maize prices had not come down since.
Sugar, another commodity riddled with corruption, has increasing high prices. Therefore, addressing the increased living costs would include a component of addressing corruption given its adverse effect on the prices of basic commodities.
The high cost of living is directly correlated to the inefficiencies brought about by cartels that collude with government to act as middlemen thus driving commodity prices sky-high. Some of the money made will be used for campaigns. That is the corruption we need to address urgently and decisively. These are the actual people who go with meat and throw bones to poor ‘dogs’.
Had it not because of corruption and poor leadership, investment in our farmers – Kenya can and should feed itself. Investing in irrigation to water our farms, bringing the cost of fertiliser down, bringing the cost of seed down, facilitating funding for mechanisation and modernisation, will enable us to do so and bring the cost of food down.
With the government heavily taxing oil imports, the cost of petroleum in Kenya has risen from around $1 per liter to over $1.30 in just the past few months. Kenyans have also been hit from all sides by rising inflation, government tariffs, import mismanagement, and insecurity.
Fuel shortages are not just happening because there happens to be no product. The reason is probably because to sell the fuel at the price that has been regulated by the government is really not a viable option.
All of these factors have in turn triggered inflation, which threatens to strengthen the rise in prices. Workers are becoming increasingly fed up and organized labor is beginning to demand higher wages to cope.
The majority of Kenyans or 81 per cent rely on government health institutions for medical care. These institutions have become too expensive because patients are to buy medicines from chemist.
Significant departure of medical staff from the public service as has been recently seen in the resignation of a number of doctors has a detrimental impact on the nation’s health.
As millions of youths have no jobs while millions of workers are living on starvation wages that cannot now enable them to live from hand to mouth, cases of suicides have increased. Kenya comes 65th out of 192 countries according to the World Health Rankings on suicide prevalence.
Frustrations about money and jobs can lead to depression, drug abuse and alcohol addiction. When the young people feel inadequate and powerless they may be tempted to commit suicide.
Loss of job is one leading cause of suicide among young people; an individual is left hopeless and may sink low with demands of living day to day without means of providing for themselves and their dependants.
Girls generally attempt suicide more often than boys, but boys are about 4 times more likely to die from the suicide attempt. This is because the methods that boys choose – often using firearms or hanging – are more lethal than those chosen by girls, namely drug overdoses or cutting themselves.
Almost half of 14- and 15-year-olds have reported feeling some symptoms of depression. These are mainly pupils in Standard 8 or form ones. The cause of their depression is too much worries on whether they can be able to go to Secondary school or continue with their studies.
They see their parents are not able. Most of these children are either left with mothers alone because their fathers died, or both parents have died and taken care with grandmother who is not able to educate them.
Fr Joachim Omolo Ouko, AJ
Tel +254 7350 14559/+254 722 623 578