KENYA POLICE REFORMS: Rooting Out Corruption and Bribery
Corruption and bribery are evils that have haunted our country since time immemorial. Kenya Police Service (KPS) has had its fair share of these evils which the government has been unable to root out. Much can be said about why this is the case, from an outright rotten country culture to personal vested interests, corruption and bribery continue to impede the economic prosperity of the country.
Focusing solely on KPS, we would evaluate why corruption continues to riddle the commission and suggest viable solutions to root it out. Analysis of the cash cycle would go a long way in explaining how corruption in the KPS occurs but first let us examine the underlying factors that underpin this malady.
Whereas it is easy to point a finger when talking about corruption and bribery, it’s not so easy to do the same when it comes to the KPS rights. Let the truth be stated, our uniformed countrymen live in impoverished conditions. They are paid peanuts and required to uphold the greatest integrity, talk about temptation which only Jesus could resist.
Gone are the old days where the uniform was associated with discipline, upholding integrity, service to the people and country. Today, the uniform is a representation of greed, corruption and bribery. What happened to the discipline of the Police Force?
Leadership might be the main issue here. As the adage goes, an army of sheep lead by a lion is fiercer than an army of lions led by a sheep. The KPS needs massive reforms in its leadership ranks to restore discipline in the service.
The other problem is you. Yes, Kenyan culture has come to accept corruption and bribery as part of day to day life. You going into your pocket to pay that bribe is the reason why this malady cannot be uprooted. Raising your voice against corruption while paying for quicker solutions makes you incorrigible to corruption.
Correcting the above stated issues may take a long time but the time to start is now before the future generation is also corrupted. The simplest way of starting to solve the corruption issue in the Police Force is by adjustments of policies that would tighten the cash cycle. Let me elaborate.
Bribery and corruption is most rampant in the traffic sector. Traffic offenses may be one of the greatest income generators for the country but most of the money is lost through bribery and corruption. Solving this problem may go a long way in effecting Police Reforms.
How to solve the problem
The solution to traffic offenses bribery and corruption is so simple that it may only cost the government peanuts to implement. The following three recommendations should be effected:
- Implementing a cashless payment system for collecting traffic offenses penalties.
- Lowering traffic offenses penalties with a cap of 2,500 shillings.
- Extremely high penalties on bribery and corruption charges for both citizen and officer.
The above stated solutions would curb the gap that officers exploit to get bribes. In essence the current traffic offense penalties and procedures encourage citizens to pay bribes.
Taking a scenario like over speeding, if one is caught, he/she may be liable to pay about 10,000 shillings cash bail and appear in court the following working day. First, the cash bail amount is too large for many Kenyans to afford in an instant and then the time wasted in court cases is just absurd. A simpler way would be to part away with about 2,000 shillings bribe and get home in time.
The below scenario occurs in almost all bribe transactions:
Implementing of the above stated recommendations would alter the cycle as follows:
Since the E-citizen platform is already in place, creating an automated cashless payment system would be a walk in the park. Traffic offenses penalties should also be reduced to enable citizens pay upfront. Making penalties levied on bribery and corruption cases extremely steep on both officer and citizen would discourage the behavior.
One may argue that lowering the charges would increase the number of offenses. The counter argument would be that individuals are still committing offenses with the current charges, its human nature. Furthermore, a cap can be put on the number of traffic offenses committed before one can be listed as a rogue driver and harsher penalties levied.
These among other many solutions may revamp our Police Force to their esteemed position of maintaining law and order. This kind of solution based thinking is what will help us root out bribery and corruption from the Kenya Police Service. Next time before paying that bribe, think twice of the impact of your actions.