Posted by: mzunguchick | August 21, 2008

“Give looters amnesty” … ???

Well, well, what can I say. Mr John Githongo – Mr ‘Anti-corruption’ himself returned to Kenya yesterday with some enlightening words for us all …..

“It is better to grant amnesty to those willing to admit they had swindled the public out of cash.”

“ER, YOU WHAT?!?!?” I hear you cry.

To give you a brief rundown of Mr Githongo for those of you who do not know who this chap is;
John Githongo founded the Kenyan chapter of ‘Transparency International’ back in 1999. In 2003 he was elected to the position of Permanent Secretary for Governance and Ethics by the incoming president Kibaki, who had been elected on an anti-corruption platform. He resigned from this position in February 2005 without comment, though it was reported that he felt the government lacked commitment to ending corruption and that he had received death threats. He then moved to the UK to live in self-exile and had been there ever since until …. *duh, deh, dah* … Tuesday night, after receiving an invitation to return from our very own PM Mr Raila Odinga.

Prime Minister Raila Odinga (left) welcomes home former anti-corruption tsar Mr John Githongo.
Prime Minister Raila Odinga (left) welcomes home former anti-corruption tsar, Mr John Githongo.

Now, what on earth are we supposed to make of all this handing out amnesty rather than prosectution?

There was a debate on the radio this morning about this thorny issue and although the majority seemed to think that Githongo should get straight back onto the plane and return to wherever he came from with his crazy suggestions, I thought both sides of the discussion had very valid points.

The ‘PRO’ Githongo stance was that no-one has ever actually been held to account for ripping off public funds. We have commission of enquiry after Commission of Enquiry but no-one ever seems to get held to book and we seem to spend a damn fortune on these commissions dragging out a lot of accusations and counter accusations and yet there is never a conclusion and not one penny gets returned, so Githongo has a point. Let those who ripped off cash put their hands up and then get forgiven and let’s move on.

The ‘YOU MUST BE NUTS’ stance that totally disagrees with Githongo, is of the opinion that if you forgive these people – whether they put their hands up or not (as chances are they never will anyhow!), it is just giving an excuse to these people to loot even more cash, and surely we have to put a stop to this corruption by holding people to account for their actions – whether that be yesterday or ten years ago, surely theft (because that is basically what it is lets be honest) is totally wrong and should NOT be forgiven just like that because some chap put his hands up and said ‘Sorry’. Surely there should be some form of repercussion.

Someone said that apparently in China, people get beheaded if caught stealing government funds, and although that may be slightly extreme I must admit, everyday people here in Kenya get lynched daily for stealing mobile phones, and yet we are willing to let our leaders get away with blatant fraud?

Mmmm, I think both sides have legitimate points in this argument, but I’m definitely leaning to the side of NOT getting away with this continuous looting of our hard earned cash.

Surely the buck has to stop somewhere ???



  1. It’s funny how a lot of ordinary Africans seem to be quite God-fearing whereas the ones who get to the top are often shameless rogues. Does the power corrupt them?

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