Corruption in our country has reached unprecedented levels. The amount of untold deaths, suffering and even desperation it has caused is tremendous. Specifically, corruption has manifested itself in lack of drugs in our hospitals, poor infrastructure, death from accidents caused by unroadworthy vehicles, lack of clean drinking water, loss of lives from famine and lack of jobs for the youth who cannot afford or do not want to give bribes. It is sad that resources set aside for the common good are continually being diverted to serve personal interests. To fight corruption, we are called to a prophetic mission of condemning all forms of corruption, that calls for the holiness in standing for the truth. One of the most challenging social concerns in Kenya is the disdain for truth in the fight against corruption. Truth is a precious value. Truth is the foundation on which relation with God and neighbour, and any meaningful set of laws are built. Our Lord Jesus taught us that “truth shall set you free”. This truth in fact constitutes Gods’ nature itself, and his eternal divine plan.
Besides, corruption is something deeper than mere financial gain. It is the “short circuiting” of the human reason, that “burns the fuse” of the heart, making us totally heartless, and sharp in applying reason to matters that only imply self-gain. Corruption is a blindness to truth in any of its forms. The high levels of poverty, mistrust, nepotism, violence, murder, human trafficking, tribal clashes, cronyism and outright misappropriation of public funds shows the rot of our systems and that we have lost our conscience as a society.
Our greatest challenge in fact is the extent of systemic and individual corruption, which has almost become a culture.
For this reason, strife in society, corruption, violent political contests, aggressive behavior amongst young people, impunity in both the public and private sectors, among many other social ills, result from a culture of failing to live by the truth. We face an existential challenge of living double lives, because we do not want to be true to who we are. We cannot successfully fight corruption if we shy away from truth. Unfortunately, corruption fights back. Like Judas’ time, many disciples fled in fear when Jesus was confronted by the enemies of truth and justice. So have many of us Kenyans when faced with moments of standing for the truth in the fight against corruption. But this is now the moment of new courage. It is our moment to slay this monster, not with words but with skill and with God. We, therefore, invite all of us to heal and recover our conscience. When one’s “false sense” views another as an “object”, it
becomes easier to act beastly towards him. A corrupt conscience is a path to death, to inhumanity as Pope Francis reminded us during his address to the youth in Kasarani in November 2015. Like Zacchaeus, the tax collector (Luke 19: 1 – 10) we must accept that we have gone astray in taking what does not belong to us and seek God’s forgiveness.
In this week, we reflect on what each one of us can do to in the fight against corruption. The role of the Church is being the conscience of society. This underlines the responsibility of the Church to form the consciences of all peoples, towards acting rightly and realising the common good. We all must be guided by a well formed conscience in our processes of discernment and decision-making. A morally upright society can only come about, once there are great men and women of integrity. Equity and equality can be achieved if we put our faith in God to join David in this fight against Goliath. Many countries in the world have successfully fought corruption and so can we.