As it happened: Constitutional Implementation Forum
Corruption as a topic has and will always remain a hotly discussed topic and the Constitutional Implementation Seminar was no different. The topic of discussion was centered on Establishing systems of Integrity.
The seminar officially kicked off with a keynote address from Prof Charles Stamford after warm opening remarks from the host & Dean Strathmore Law School, Dr Luis Francheschi.
Prof Stamford in his address began by defining the terms corruption and integrity. He defined Corruption as abuse of entrusted power for private gain and Integrity as use of entrusted power for officially authorized and publicly justified purposes. He then went on to discuss why integrity is core to the success of any government or institution.
Giving examples of the success of countries such as Hong Kong and the anti-corruption model employed by the country to overcome corruption, Prof. Sampford jokingly remarked that the most effective way to deal with corruption in a government is to do away with an entire government.
The discussion was extended by his explanation on the role of integrity as a way of risk management. He argued that one need not prove that corruption exists by having an institution to fight it, rather the risk of corrupt practices in an organization, is sufficient to establish a system of integrity to curb it.
Integrity systems are achieved by the establishment of good governance structures. His argument supported the establishment of a National Integrity System as a solution to the prevalent corruption in Kenya. National integrity systems vary from society to society. They are dynamic, and take time but are not impossible to build.
Professor Sampford in his address pointed out that national integrity systems are built on key pillars among which include; existence of a strong institution, long traditions, clearly defined rules, a strong reward system; systems established out of a rational choice as well as coordinated and collaborative. To effectively fight corruption in Kenya, the government needs to not only investigate corrupt individuals but make it a primary goal to disrupt the entire corrupt system.
His final advice to government, citizens and all stakeholders involved in the fight against corruption was that there should be no complacency and that government should be reinforced to respond to new corruption challenges.
The seminar would not come to an end without the input from the highly esteemed panelists comprising of Prof. PLO Lumumba, Prof. Yash Pal Ghai and Supreme Court Judge, Justice Majanja. They all agreed that Kenya still wallows in corruption and is ranked very highly as a corrupt country yet there are numerous systems in place to curb the same.
Prof Yash Pal Ghai in his remarks extensively talked about the systems in place. He expressed his dream for Africa being the origin of the most beautiful unimplemented constitutions.
Justice Majanja explained the judiciarys efforts in fighting corruption pointing out the overly high expectations Kenyans have of the Judiciary.
Prof. PLO Lumumba narrated his experience fighting corruption at Kenya Anti- Corruption Commission and the challenges he faced. To be remembered from his speech are the words, Corruption presupposes an educated way of privatizing public resources. This he made when he jokingly stated that Kenyans are looters but they are not corrupt. PLO finished with words of encouragement reminding the audience that there is hope of Kenya winning the fight against corruption.
The seminar would not end without a brief question and answer session from the audience, keen to understand the building and workingS of National Integrity Systems.
Ruth Ambogo, a second year Law student gave the vote of thanks echoing the words of all speakers summing it up by assuring the audience that indeed there is hope in the next generation of young leaders.