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When you declare your wealth, declare also its source

17 December 2015, 14:19 Paul Orodi

Over the last decade, Kenya has tried to implement the 'wealth declaration' policy on state and public officers in office or those seeking office. Politicians and technocrats have come out to declare their wealth in a show of solidarity against corruption.

This can be viewed as a good step towards fighting corruption and other vices that cause loss of public funds. It is an indication that an individual is hell-bent on being accountable and acting with integrity while in office.

However, there is the fundamental question that lingers in the minds of critical thinkers; how is that wealth acquired? This is a very fundamental question when evaluating the wealth of an individual. Without an answer to this question, the whole process simply becomes a formality and not a meaningful process.

Most of our current crops of leaders within government have millions of shillings worth of assets to their names. On paper, most of them have huge chunks of land, companies, vehicles and machinery among other assets of high value. A majority of public and state officers have fat bank accounts to their names and the names of their spouses and children.

Read Also: Kiunjuri worth KES 800 million, he says

Kenyans have begun embracing the idea of voting in those with massive wealth portfolios with a view that they will not have the urge to steal public funds. Other Kenyans on the other hand tend to think that those with lean wealth portfolios might have acquired them righteously and may therefore be more ethical in office. Based on my observation, either view might be correct.

On the other hand, there is the view that has been ignored more often than not. What if the people with small amounts of wealth acquired them through dubious means and they are seeking office to either safeguard or increase their portfolios? What if those with huge amounts of wealth acquired them irregularly and want to hold office so as to subvert the course of justice and stay out of trouble with the arm of the law?

These are some of the pertinent issues we should ask ourselves as we continue being treated to these fat figures in the name of wealth declaration. Evidence exists that some companies that have been involved in business malpractice belong to the political elite and technocrats who have served and still serve within government. With such kinds of revelations, it is imperative to analyze how these individuals who seek public and state offices have acquired their fortunes.

Through critical analysis of wealth acquisition methods, the fight against corruption can be a whole lot easier. At the moment, our momentum in the fight against corruption is gradually increasing at a good pace but more can be done to make it more vicious and quick. One of the strategies to achieve this is by asking those who declare their wealth to make it public how exactly they acquired it. If possible the law should make it relevant for documents supporting the method of acquisition claims to be attached to the wealth declaration documents.

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Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.

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