“It is true that we are headed into an electioneering period and we as Religious Leaders on most occasions are misused. We invite politicians to our places of worship, others we sanctify them and the trend goes on,” Rev Fr Joseph Mutie, Chair Inter-Religious Council of Kenya.
This symbiotic relationship between politics and corruption impedes transparency and accountability. Corrupt political financing particularly campaign financing has become more prevalent even as young people are paid monies to cause fracas in political gatherings. Political corruption thus poses a serious threat to democracy and peace in the country. It is the mandate of Religious Leaders and institutions, to call out and offer guidance on combating this vice that threatens the peace of the country.
On 8th April 2015, the National Anti-Corruption Campaign Stetting Committee (NACCSC) and Inter-Religious Council of Kenya (IRCK) entered into an MoU with an aim to promote public education, sensitization and awareness creation on anti-corruption by developing standard anti-corruption messages backed by scriptural references for dissemination through various religious platforms. A committee of technical persons and theologians from different faiths was put in place to develop key anti-corruption messages intended to boost the fight against corruption. Experts and technical people were contracted to draw pictorial graphics and illustrations to catch the eye and provide a real-life experience necessary for driving the intended messages home, making the booklet audible, and developing a design that is attractive to the intended users.
In November 2019, IRCK in collaboration with NACSCC unveiled the Scripture Referenced Anti-Corruption Booklet, which was an anti-graft policy document set to be institutionalized in a bid to combat corruption in the country. It is with this that the organizations saw a need to hold regional consultation meetings to activate grassroots structures for this cause to secure pledges from Regional level Stakeholders to cascade the campaign against corruption downstream.
Two regional launches were held in South Rift and Eastern Regions. In Nakuru County, the booklets were launched as St Mary’s Pastoral Center, Nakuru and Kusyombunguo in Makueni County. There was the official launch of the booklets, which was a joint ceremony where Religious Leaders were presented with booklets for reference and distribution to their members. Representatives from the National and County government; faith communities and other stakeholders graced the launches.
“Corruption has become very rampant that community members always frown at those who are not corrupt but instead reward those who are corrupt and sometimes in many occasions by electing them to political offices,” said Rev. Fr. Joseph Mutie when addressing the participants during the launch.
Chief Administrative Secretary State Law Office and Department of Justice Professor Micheni Ntiba who attended the launches called for the implementation of anti-corruption studies in Kenya’s education curriculum, as part of measures aimed at combating the vice.
“Citizens need to change their mindset about corruption and stop viewing corruption as a way of seeking favours from public and private entities or even making quick money and amassing wealth without effort,” Said Professor Ntiba
Religious Leaders in the counties have been able to cascade these messages and booklets to their grassroots congregations. They have held group talks on the publicity of the book and partnerships at the community level to curb this vice.
Every individual can make a difference in the fight against corruption if we all accept the challenge. Let us give people hope that the war against corruption can and will be won when Kenyans also embrace the ‘bottom-up’ approach to the fight – by making the grassroots completely hostile and intolerant to corruption.
By Mary Ndulili