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The Chief Guest, Speaker of the Senate, Hon. Kenneth Lusaka, EGH

 Representative of the Hon. Attorney General

Chirperson, Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission, His Grace Archbishop Eliud Wabukala and Commissioners

Chairperson, Inter Religious Council of Kenya, Very Rev. Fr. Joseph Mutie

The Clergy/Religious Leaders

Commission Secretary/Chief Executive Officer, Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission, Mr. Twalib Mbarak

Ag. Director, National Anti-Corruption Campaign Steering Committee, Mr. David Gathii

Media

Invited Guests

Ladies and Gentlemen

 I am excited to be here today, together with my colleagues, to participate in the launch of the Scripture-Referenced Anti-Corruption Materials.I thank you most sincerely for sparing time from your busy schedules to join us today in this auspicious event that brings together Inter-Religious Council of Kenya, Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission and National Anti-Corruption Campaign Steering Committee. Please feel appreciated.

 The National Anti-Corruption Campaign Steering Committee is mandated to undertake a nationwide public education, sensitization and awareness creation campaign aimed at effecting fundamental change in the attitudes, behavior, practices and culture of Kenyans towards corruption. The campaign is mainly targeted at the members of the public to fully empower them fight and prevent corruption. To further the implementation of the campaign, the Committee enters into partnership with various stakeholders in the anti-corruption sector.

 One of the stakeholders that the Committee partnered with and signed a Memorandum of Understanding in 2015 is the Inter-Religious Council of Kenya. The partnership was aimed at enhancing the campaign upto the grassroots.

 As part of the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding, the two institutions conceptualized a campaign against corruption spearheaded by the Religious Leaders. A team of Theologians and Academicians was, therefore, constituted and tasked to develop the messages referenced in the three main Holy Books, thus the Bible, Koran and Gita.

 The team identified six issues that the campaign needed to address, thus inadequate preaching/teaching against corruption by the faith communities, branding and labeling corruption with sweet names, greed, lack of patriotism in exposing and fighting corruption, unfairness and injustices in our nation resulting from corruption and continuous engagement in corruption in total disregard of God’s presence. From the issues, the team further developed powerful anti-corruption messages which were collated in a Booklet titled “Faith Communities Against Corruption”. The Booklet is among the materials that our Chief Guest will launch today and we are very delighted that idea has finally come to be a reality today.

 Ladies and Gentlemen

 The Committee acknowledges the great efforts and initiatives by the Religious Institutions to fight corruption which continues to permeate every sector in Kenya. Key among the initiatives include the bold step taken by the Catholic Church of declaring a six months anti-corruption campaign themed “Break the Chain of Corruption” that was launched during the National Prayer Day at the Subukia National Shrine on 5th October, 2019 and the strongly worded statement against corruption issued by the Head of the Anglican Church in Kenya, His Grace Archbishop Jackson Ole Sapit, on 23rd April, 2019 that was widely carried by the media and actually resonated very well with very many Kenyans. We commend these and other efforts and encourage that they be sustained.

 The objective of launching the materials is to boost these initiatives and enhance the campaign by the Religious Leaders to create awareness to the faithful on corruption and convey the message that the Holy Scriptures do not only disapprove of the vice but also condemn it. Kenya is a deeply religious country and majority of the perpetrators of corruption are faithful who subscribe to specific faiths and regularly attend churches, mosques, temples and other places of worship. Some are always in the forefront of publicly making hefty donations to support pastoral work but without revealing the sources.

 It is a contradiction for one to claim to be an adherent and, at the same time, be the one who corruptly acquires medicine supplied to public health facilities for dispensation to the people free of charge and stocks it in private chemists for sale. Theft of the medicine results in the death of the poor who do not have money to buy. But must we the citizens wait for corruption to take place so that we can embark on chasing the thieves, for indeed they are thieves and should be referred to as such?

 Ladies and gentlemen

 The fight against corruption has two approaches, thus fighting corruption that has already taken place through law enforcement and asset recovery; and also preventing the one that has not taken place yet. While the country has made tremendous achievements on the law enforcement front, the public continues to measure the success in the fight by the number of individuals arraigned before the courts of law.

 This is not a very good measure as it only focuses on the rot. The preventive approach has not picked up very well, hence the need for a lot more emphasis. Many a times, citizens perceive that they may not, on their own, take any preventive action. In the cause of implementing the campaign, the Committee has come across public/community projects being implemented without the would be beneficiaries being involved and provided with information on what the projects are about, the amounts of money allocated, sources and the durations of implementation.

 The projects do not even have project management committees. Consequently, the beneficiaries do not relate with the project and have little value for them and instead view them as ‘government’ projects. Arising from this disconnect, members of the public do not provide the necessary oversight and actually derail such projects by participating in theft of construction materials and other malpractices, resulting in massive wastage and loss of resources. There is need to change the mindsets to focus more on preventive action for the war against corruption to be sustainable and successful. For example, awareness by citizens that public/community projects are implemented using the taxes they pay during the purchase of kerosene, sugar, tea leaves and salt, among other necessities, would very likely stir interest for them to start feeling they own the projects.

 They will begin to demand total participation in the identification, prioritization, approval and implementation stages and provide oversight through project management committees, whose members they will demand to elect. At that point, the citizens will stop tolerating corruption within their areas and promote transparency and accountability; an effective prevention action. Where the public has generated interest in preventing corruption in public/ community projects through active participation from the beginning to the end, significant funds have been saved from loss through corruption. In Elgeyo Marakwet County for example, the County Government wanted to upgrade the 9km Maina-Chemworor Road to an all-weather road at a cost then estimated at KShs 20 million.

 Based on the awareness that had already been created on corruption in the implementation of public projects and how it can be prevented, the beneficiaries offered to oversight implementation by assigning two elders to the project site every day. The project was completed on time and at a total cost of KShs 5.4 million, saving the County Government KShs 14.6 million. Similar examples dot the counties and these success stories can be amplified to change the narrative and inspire preventive action.

 The materials jointly developed by the two Anti-Corruption Agencies and Inter-Religious Council of Kenya will help the congregants understand corruption and the very reason they should not only fight but also prevent the vice. Various platforms will be used to disseminate the materials and messages within the respective institutions.

 We ask the Religious Leaders to encourage the congregants to focus on the preventive approach. The media is also expected to play a critical role in carrying the messages and we call upon them to make deliberate efforts to convey the messages in the materials to reach every corner of our country. On its part, the Committee commits to avail the County Anti-Corruption Civilian Oversight Committees that it has established to implement awareness creation campaigns at the grassroots and monitor and address corruption in public projects through social accountability to mainstream the preventive measures.

 Ladies and Gentlemen

 The Committee appreciates the Theologians and Academicians who developed the Faith Communities Against Corruption Booklets for making the messages therein simple and clear to understand; and articulating what corruption is, types and manifestations; the negative effects, the individual and collective role in the fight and the national values that all should embrace and practice to reduce corruption, not to mention the illustrations that make the messages memorable. We also appreciate the Chief Guest and all participants in today’s event, you have truly added value to the fight against corruption.

 With these few remarks, let me appeal to all of you present here today to accept to play our roles to rid our country of corruption. Please obtain a copy of the Booklet, and indeed all the Scripture-Referenced Anti-Corruption materials that will be launched today, read and understand what the Holy Scriptures say about corruption and put into practice the virtues and values espoused and spread the message.

 If we all purpose to do this, our country will surely be saved from the shackles of corruption and we shall bequeath our children a country free of corruption.

 Let us all say NO to Corruption, God hates Corruption.

 I thank you all.