Let Us Demonstrate Patriotism By Fighting Corruption
Corruption is a vice that causes detrimental effects on the socio-economic development of a country, Kenya is not an exception. The fight against corruption calls for concerted effort involving all Kenyans in their public or private spheres. Individual involvement entails preventing corruption from within by choosing to espouse values such as honesty, transparency and accountability in day to day life. It is our collective responsibility to contribute towards achieving our development goals as outlined in the Kenya Vision 2030 blueprint. Corruption is the abuse of public office for personal gain. People who steal or misuse public resources are not patriotic. They are driven by greed and selfishness as opposed to an aspiration to promote public interest. There is need to invigorate the spirit of patriotism to enable us avert corruption.
Patriotism originates from a Greek word ‘patris’ which is translated as native land. Patriotism implies not only love for the land and fellow citizens but also, principally attachment to the laws, institutions and governance of the country (James Gibbons: 1892). In addition to respecting our national symbols, honouring our national heroes and observing national days, more prominence is needed in observing the country’s laws, protecting national resources and fighting corruption as a show of love and loyalty to the country. Kenyans have in many occasions demonstrated unmatched solidarity when rallying behind a worthy course, such as the Kenya for Kenya initiative that supported citizens who had been affected by severe drought in the year 2011. Similar synergy is required to drive corruption out of this nation.
Individual commitment to doing the right thing in daily engagements ranging from choosing to obey the country’s laws, observing COVID-19 guidelines, speaking well of the country, offering public services with integrity, resisting all forms of corruption and participation in governance processes, will go a long way in creating a positive influence for societal good.
As sovereign citizens, we have the responsibility to elect into public office ethical leaders who have a clean record, having served the country diligently without engaging in mismanagement of public resources. It is critical to have the right leaders who will advance the fight against corruption and promote public interest.
Patriotism as a virtue requires nurturing from formative years. Children need to grow up with a sense of belonging and duty towards upholding the values of the country. It is worth noting the new curriculum is value-based and has incorporated values and citizenship education. This will contribute towards nurturing ethical and patriotic citizens. Parents also have a role to play in exemplifying loyalty to the country for the children to emulate.
It is true that leaders and agencies fighting corruption take a leading role in curbing corruption. However, a collective resolve by the majority to embrace integrity will drastically reduce the levels of corruption in Kenya. In the words John F. Kennedy, the 35th president of United States, “Ask not what the country can do for you, ask what you can do for the country”.