Group photo

NCCK Executive Committee Members pose for a group photo following their two-day statutory meeting in Jumuia Resort Conference and Country Home Limuru           

                                                                          A TIME TO END CORRUPTION
                                                                             PRESS STATEMENT
A. Preamble
The Executive Committee of the National Council of Churches of Kenya has met here at Jumuia Conference and Country Home, Limuru, for the last two days to transact statutory business and reflect on matters of national concern. We took time to pray for the families of the more than 200 Kenyans who have died in floods related incidences. It is our prayer that God will console and strengthen you as you rebuild your lives. We have also prayed for quick and full recovery of all those who were injured physically, emotionally and psychologically, and for restoration of means of livelihood of all the affected. It is our continuing prayer that God will protect all Kenyans so that the blessing of rain does not bring pain and destruction.
During this meeting, we reflected on Luke 19: 1 – 10, and took special notice of verse 8:
But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look! Lord! Here and now I give half of my possession to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount”.
We recognize that corruption is a malignant cancer that has pervaded every fabric of the Kenyan society, and we must either deal with it radically or watch the nation go to ruin.

B. The Cost of Corruption
This Executive Committee remembers that in 2016, the then Chairman of the Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission (EACC) quite casually remarked that up to a third of Kenya’s national budget is lost through corruption every year. The same has been voiced by government officials in the Treasury. Kenyans should therefore expect that by the end of this financial year in July, up to KShs 700 billion will have been stolen within the last 12 months. That amount of money is enough to pay 230,000 doctors a salary of KShs 250,000 per month for a whole year, meaning that we have the capacity to put 30 doctors in each of the 8,000 or so health clinics in Kenya! Corruption is a real threat to the life of every Kenyan.
Kenyans, get very angry about corruption and take action!

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NCCK General Secretary Rev. Canon Peter Karanja is flanked by Chairperson Rev. Canon Rosemary Mbogo & Rev. Musa Maina during a press conference in Limuru

C. Political Will to Fight Corruption
This Executive Committee notes that in the past, lack of political will was perceived to be the main hindrance to an effective fight against corruption. We are however encouraged by the commitment contained in the Building Bridges statement, and we quote:
“Corruption is an existential threat to our Kenya. It is destroying lives, public trust and prosperity… HE President Uhuru Kenyatta and HE Raila Odinga will strongly support efforts to support whistle blowing from all Kenyans, and they urge all of you to loudly report the corruption you witness no matter where it is. Our fighting and reporting corruption should itself not be corrupt, it must not be a witch hunt but instead should reflect integrity. HE President Uhuru Kenyatta and HE Raila Odinga will stand together to ensure that political affiliation shall not be used to shield those who are found to be corrupt.”

D. Declare Corruption a National Disaster
Having considered the need for Kenya to stop normalizing corruption, and putting it in the context of biblical teachings on integrity, this Executive Committee calls upon His Excellency the President to declare corruption a national disaster. This will create a break with the past and turn a new page on the fight against the corruption scourge. It will also enable the country to institute extra ordinary measures as is apparently necessary.
Further, we recommend the following:

E. Offer Amnesty for Past Corruption
This Executive Committee urges Kenyans to remember the instructions God gave as is recorded in Exodus 22: 7 – 8
“If a man gives his neighbour silver or goods for safekeeping and they are stolen from the neighbour’s house, the thief, if he is caught, must pay back double. But if the thief is not found, the owner of the house must appear before the judges to determine whether he has laid his hands on the other man’s property”.
Understanding this, and learning from the example of Zacchaeus, we recommend that Parliament enacts a legal framework and constitutional amendments as would be necessary to establish a one-year amnesty for individuals who have engaged in corruption in the past to declare and surrender to the state all corruptly acquired properties and finances. An individual seeking to benefit from the amnesty must give a full account of all they stole and disclose others in their corruption networks. In return, such an individual will be granted immunity from prosecution during the window provided.
It must also be very clear that the amnesty will not be applicable for corruption perpetrated from the day the Amnesty is over. Any further engagement in corruption or concealment of past corruption must be punished under the new regime of sanctions that will be instituted. It is our considered position that offering this amnesty will provide a critical incentive for beneficiaries of corruption to repent and turn their lives around, speed up justice for Kenyans who have suffered immensely on account of corruption and enable us to clean up our past. We in the NCCK are willing and available to support the discussions on and the drafting of the necessary Bills for Parliament to consider.

F. Enhance Sanctions and Asset Recovery
For all those who don’t take advantage of the Amnesty during the window provided, and those who engage in further corruption, this Executive Committee recommends that the existing anti corruption laws be enhanced to provide harsher punishments.
We especially recommend:
(i) Establishment of specialized corruption cases courts that have defined, strict and realistic timelines to conclude cases brought before them
(ii) Accelerated investigations and prosecution
(iii) Life imprisonment for those found guilty
(iv) A low threshold for removal from office of culprits
(v) Recovery of all assets corruptly acquired
(vi) Stripping of state honours after the window of amnesty is closed
(vii) Barring culprits from holding public office for life
We remind all Kenyans that one of the reasons corruption has grown to this extent is because we ignored the instructions given in Ecclesiastes 8:11
When the sentence for a crime is not quickly carried out, the hearts of the people are filled with schemes to do wrong
Corruption must attract speedy, visible, public and effective consequences regardless of who engages in it so that all people realize that their corruption, cheating, stealing and abuse of office are expensive undertakings.
We here reiterate our commitment to support the process of developing the necessary laws to effect these recommendations and to participate in national mechanisms to monitor the implementation of the anti corruption and public integrity restoration interventions.

G. Reform Infrastructure
This Executive Committee recognizes that for these recommendations to be implemented successfully, an enabling framework must be established that includes:
(i) Expansion of the multi-agency framework that was established in 2016 to include other stakeholders so as to build national consensus and agree on a plan of action
(ii) The Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission be re-engineered so as to transfer investigative functions to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations and prosecutorial functions to the Directorate of Public Prosecutions. The relevant sections within the directorates must then have express accountability and monitoring structures.
(iii) The Judiciary to roll out anti corruption courts and gazette sentencing policies and guidelines. The guidelines must include outer limits of timelines for disposal of all corruption cases.
(iv) The National Anti Corruption Campaign Steering Committee be transformed into a department in the Attorney General’s Office and be integrated in the national Civic Education Programme. Civic education must be given an adequate budget allocation and a structure for implementation as well as monitoring and evaluation
(v) The law on election and campaign financing be strictly enforced, and a framework be established for robust vetting of candidates to bar individuals with criminal, dubious and corrupt backgrounds from seeking elective positions
(vi) The law on wealth declaration be amended to require that such declarations be made public when one assumes office and when they are leaving
(vii) Security Sector Reforms be moved forward with a goal of ending the endemic corruption among the security agencies and officers

H. Uphold Chapter 6 of the Constitution
This Executive Committee calls to mind that Chapter 6 of the Constitution of Kenya has very clear requirements for integrity among leaders and state officers. We especially take note of Article 73 (1)(a)(iii and iv) which provides that
Authority assigned to a State officer is a public trust to be exercised in a manner that – brings honour to the nation and dignity to the office and promotes public confidence in the integrity of the office
It is in this regard that we call upon the persons implicated in corruption at the National Youth Service, Ministry of Health, and various County Governments to resign to pave way for investigations and bring dignity to those offices.
Further, we urge that sexual impropriety and indiscretion by public and state officials be integrated as dishonour to the nation and the offices they hold. We should not tolerate officers telling us how many mipango ya kando (extra marital affairs) they have and publicly engaging in shameful acts and then carrying on as though nothing happened.
To prevent future disregard of the law, it is important that a public inquiry on the history and circumstances of the Solai Dam be commenced and responsibility be assigned to the public and state officers who facilitated its construction and also closed their eyes as danger loomed from it. The inquiry should also lead to compensation of those who lost loved ones and properties, and sale of the farm if necessary to raise the required funds.
We also take great exception at the move by Parliament to increase their pension by 700%. It is immoral and insensitive for one sector of public service to increase their own pay while other sectors are suffering and constantly participating in strikes. We urge His Excellency the President to block the increment and instead institute measures to strengthen the Salaries and Remuneration Commission so that it fulfils its mandate of rationalising the salaries of all public servants.

I. Interventions by Non State Actors
Internally, we urge all religious institutions to commit to disgrace corruption and corrupt officers and refuse to be viewed as beneficiaries of the same. Beginning with the member churches of NCCK, we will integrate in our liturgies intensified campaigns for integrity, honesty and justice, and harsh rebukes for corruption and other sins.
We call upon the Councils of Elders and other community leadership structures to take up a similar campaign. Time has come to end the perennial protection community elders and leaders offer to individuals from their tribes who are accused of engaging in corruption and other crimes. Law enforcement agencies should treat any such protection and solidarity with the contempt it deserves. Reckless public support for culpable tribesmen should be treated as conspiracy and complicity in crime and be severely punished.

J. Floods Killing Kenyans
This Executive Committee has noted with grave concern the extensive damage wrought by the widespread flooding across the nation. Hundreds of Kenyans have died, and hundreds of thousands are displaced. We in this regard call upon His Excellency the President, and the governors of all counties, to remember that Schedule Four of the Constitution gives equal responsibility for Disaster Management to the two levels of government. This is the time to put aside petty differences and collaborate to rescue Kenyans who are affected by the flooding. Essential interventions should include the following:
(i) Evacuate Kenyans who are in risky areas to safer ground
(ii) Provide temporary accommodation for the displaced citizens
(iii) Provide food and non food relief supplies to the affected citizens
(iv) Undertake rapid rehabilitation of transport and communication infrastructure
(v) Provide cushioning funds to enable affected citizens restart their livelihoods
It is important that special attention be given to children who have been orphaned by the floods.

K. Proposed Review of Governance Structure
This Executive Committee appreciates that Kenyans have robustly engaged the proposal we made last year that the Constitution be amended to expand the National Executive and dignify the opposition. We reiterate that matters relating to constitutional reforms should be anchored in law, be inclusive in their handling, and be politically bi-partisan in order to prioritize national rather than parochially vested interests.

L. Conclusion
We conclude by thanking all Kenyans for continuing to embrace peace in the nation, and encourage them to continue working hard with honesty and integrity for personal and national prosperity, just as we are encouraged by 1 Thessalonians 4: 11 – “Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody”.

May God bless Kenya now and forever more.

Signed on this 17th day of May 2018 at Jumuia Conference and Country Home, Limuru.

Rev Canon Rosemary Mbogoh

Rev Canon Peter Karanja
General Secretary