The findings of the ‘Kenya Youth Survey Report’ provide revealing information about the integrity of Kenyan youths and the next generation, writes Paul Odhiambo, 26, a Commonwealth Correspondent from Nairobi in Kenya, as he explains the background and recommends ways to restore integrity.
The Kenya Youth Survey study shows 50 per cent of Kenyan youths believe that how one creates wealth is not important, as long as it cannot land one in jail. It indicates that 47 per cent of Kenyan youths like people who make money through hook and crook, while 30 per cent of them trust corruption is profitable.
On the other hand, 73 per cent of Kenyan youths are afraid to stand for their rights due to fear of revenge. Just 40 per cent of Kenyan youths believe that paying taxes to the government is necessary, while 35 per cent would receive or give bribes (Awiti, and Scott 2).
Kenyan youths should always strive to uphold high integrity. When their integrity is questionable, this needs solutions as soon as possible to prevent future damage to our society. But how can Kenyans get solutions? In my opinion, Kenyans can solve this challenge by determining the main causes of deteriorating integrity.
‘We’ can blame poor leadership in both public and private sectors. If in a society the top leaders in both public and private sectors are corrupt, the next generation cannot fail to be worse than the earlier generation. When a leader is responsible for corruption in a particular institution, he or she will not leave office until forced to leave. At that point, she or he will vie for political positions, and in many cases be elected. This creates a channel of corrupt individuals in the community. Taking the education sector as an example, there are cartels that will leak national examination for the students. They will not consider the quality of the education these students will possess and the possible challenges that they may face. Their main goal is to make money. Take allegations about the National Youth Service and Health Ministry scandals, where approximately 791 million Kenya shillings and 5 billion Kenya shillings were lost, as other examples. What pictures do these scandals portray to the young people who should learn moral values from their elders?
Nepotism is another cause of deteriorating integrity. As George Papandreou once asserted, “unfortunately, corruption is widespread in government agencies and public enterprises. Our political system promotes nepotism and wasting money. This has undermined our legal system and confidence in the functioning of the state. One of the consequences is that many citizens do not pay their taxes.”
In most instances, to get a job in public and private sectors one must pass through a ‘godfather’ or pay to be hired. People with power or influence in institutions favor their friends or relatives for job opportunities, and even if they lack the required skills for these jobs, they will still be employed because they know a ‘godfather’. What about people who do not know anybody in these institutions? They will be forced to bribe their way in and this gives birth to corruption.
Tribalism also plays a key role in promoting questionable integrity. Tribal inclination in Kenya is like a sharp sword on one’s throat. When a person from your tribe has power in public or private sectors, the chances for you to be favoured for any opportunity are high. Some tribes get more opportunities from public or private sectors, even if they do not possess the necessary documents for those opportunities, because their tribes have influence in that sphere. Those tribes that do not have power in a particular organization will be forced to indulge themselves in activities which are likely to promote worsening integrity.
What is the way forward? Youths should not complain anymore, as they have the power to eradicate this vice. Now we are approaching the national elections, so it is your opportunity as a youth to elect visionary leaders. Leaders who will make you be the part of the system and also who will create opportunities for all of you.
It is not the time to be afraid, as the survey pointed out, but the time to change society for better. The young generation should stand firm to uphold high integrity in every venture. Let us not be the part of the system that promotes the decay of integrity. However, youths should fight it by all means and prevent people who are fond of it from being the part of the system.
Reference: Awiti, O., Alex, and Scott, Bruce. “Kenya Youth Survey Report.” The Aga Khan University, (2016): 1-4. Web
Reach me on Twitter @OngoroPaul
I am an industrial chemist and aspiring entrepreneur. I am interested in green chemistry, environmental conservation, good governance, entrepreneurship, chemistry, biochemistry and good education.
I believe if government and different organizations give an opportunity to youths, they can transform their lives and their communities. In many occasions, youths have been considered as needy and hopeless; therefore, they are not allowed to contribute to national matters. However, they are the people who know their problems.
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?
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