Good people, corruption pays, get into it, it’s your turn to eat

Steal if you can and grab if you must – nice guys will finish last.

You’ve been taken for a ride, Mwananchi. And now you realise it- you’re angry, disappointed, but also kicking yourself wondering why you didn’t see the obvious? It’s time to look back, identify the cliched “where the rain began beating” you, and then recalibrate and re-plan, it’s a new year, old arrangements deserve no respect, so let’s reason together.

We’ve been told crime doesn’t pay. The people that run Kenya have spared no opportunity to remind us that. They preached to us from the pulpits of the State, declaring that corruption is of the devil.

They blared into our living rooms out of our radios – displacing our much-loved salaams programmes in the process – to announce that stealing doesn’t just get you locked up, it’s also a sin and God doesn’t like it.

And we swallowed those lies. We are as good as gold in the main, all – most – of us. The living has not been easy, but it is what it is – as with other Africans the world over, we quietly accepted the cards we were dealt, accepted and moved on.

Until now. For, in the aftermath of the appointment of a very energised public prosecutor, very big fish in Kenya are finding themselves charged with all manner of crimes against mwananchi.

Most of these crimes involve larceny on such a grand scale that the numbers involved make no sense. A former city governor is alleged to have swindled billions from the county’s coffers.

His former accomplices in the looting have ratted on him, telling a tale so astonishing as to be totally unbelievable at first. “Deals”, we are told, were stuck to dish out contracts to favoured companies in Nairobi and from outside Kenya.

These companies, of course, paid for the privilege – Kenyans are many things, but we aren’t communists: nothing is free. And the payment they made, the bribes and sweeteners and backhanders they allegedly dished out to the governor and his handlers are the sorts of coins that make one want to buy a house in Runda.

In one deal, the governor allegedly ate 10 billion shillings. The money is claimed to have been deposited into his accounts outside the country. The errand boy that arranged the deal was supposed to eat 1.5 billion shillings. Assorted watu wa mkono on the peripheries of the deal took home 10 million shillings each, pesa ya kufanya shopping ya wikendi.

The deal only came to the knowledge of the public because the governor allegedly got greedy – not satisfied with his 10 billion bob, he apparently decided to short-change his accomplice and eat the whole package.

The poor accomplice, expecting 1.5 billion in his account, got nothing. His attempts to get the money owed to him yielded as much result as squeezing water out of a stone: zero. The case is still in court, and we must note that the governor protests his innocence and has not been found guilty of anything. Yet.

But if you think being a nice, law-abiding citizen will get you anywhere, think again: Africa is the new Wild West, fortunes are being made and lost at dizzying speeds, corruption is the law of the land, so steal if you can and grab if you must – nice guys will finish last.


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