Economy & Politics

Kenyan youth: Corruption okay but don’t get caught

From left: Aga Khan University’s East African Institute director Alex Awiti, artist Kevin Omondi Obunga a.k.a Ohms Law and  Kenya Vision 2030 acting director-general Gituro Wainaina at the launch of the youth survey report on January 18, 2016. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA
From left: Aga Khan University’s East African Institute director Alex Awiti, artist Kevin Omondi Obunga a.k.a Ohms Law and Kenya Vision 2030 acting director-general Gituro Wainaina at the launch of the youth survey report on January 18, 2016. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA 

Half of Kenyan youth believe that it doesn’t matter how one makes money as long as one does not end up in jail, a study by the Aga Khan University’s East African Institute shows.

A similar number (47 per cent) admire those who acquire wealth by hook or crook.

“Thirty per cent of the young people believe corruption is profitable and 35 per cent would readily take or give a bribe. What is more concerning is that 73 per cent of the youths are afraid to stand up for what is right for fear of retribution,” said Alex Awiti, the director of the East African Institute, during the release of the report Monday.

The report states that 62 per cent of the youth are vulnerable to electoral bribery, with 40 per cent of those interviewed saying they would only vote for a candidate who bribes them.

The young people interviewed said they had no qualms about evading taxes, with only 40 per cent saying it is important to pay up.

The Kenya Youth Survey was conducted between October and November last year. A total of 1,854 respondents aged between 18 and 35 years were interviewed.

John Githongo, a former Ethics and Governance permanent secretary, attributed the growing corruption tolerance among the youth to lack of role models.

“They are seeing thieves being glorified with the wealth they have fraudulently acquired and want to do the same for themselves.

‘‘We need to address the challenge of corruption immediately before we pass it onto the next generation of leaders’’, he said.

Prof Wainaina Gituro, the acting director general of Vision 2030 Delivery Secretariat, said corruption remains the greatest challenge to growth and prosperity but was optimistic that the trend among the youth could be reversed.

“Young people can be modelled to take up our societal values and with the right role models we can be able to meet our social and economic targets by year 2020,” he said.