Meaning and causes of corruption with a special reference to Kenya : a moral perspective
Kivoi, Douglas L.A.
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Corruption has over the years become a reality of monumental proportions in Kenya. Corruption has impacted so negatively in our social, economic and political life that serious effort is needed in order to undermine it. Corruption has eroded the moral values of Kenyans and is consigning many Kenyans to perpetual poverty, deprivation and misery. The bottom line of this study is that corruption has permeated into the very fabric of the Kenyan society from the top political echelons to the family unit. The impact of corruption on the moral fabric of this nation can thus not be underestimated. This study shows that corruption poses a serious challenge in terms of economic, political and social development in Kenya. It undermines democratic institutions and good governance, reduces accountability and negates representation and policy making in the electoral process. It is also a fact that there are institutions, for instance Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission, whose mandate is to deal with and control the spread of corruption, yet corruption rages on unabated. It is worth noting that even the laws that have been enacted to stamp out corruption have not comprehensively defined and addressed the nature and various manifestations of corruption in Kenya. As to dealing with the problem, there are cases where the perpetrators of corruption have been known yet no action has been taken against them. In certain cases prosecutions have been brought up against certain individuals only to be withdrawn later. This shows that the legislative framework for combating corruption is ineffective and does not provide viable structures for combating corruption. It is on the above motivation that this study explores the complex nature of corruption in Kenyan society. The study explores the various ways in which corruption manifests itself. This study investigates the phenomenon of corruption and the reasons why legal and other institutions are unable to tackle corruption effectively. This study therefore is concerned with; • The meaning of corruption. • The causes of corruption. • What strategies should be developed to combat corruption. Throughout the study the philosophical tools of analysis, justification, criticism and reconstruction are employed. The conceptual framework that informs this study is a combination of ethical egoism, utilitarianism and the common good. In perspective, the argument is that morality is based on human concerns for purposes of the well being of the entire society. The study discusses some of the complex ways in which corruption manifests itself in the Kenyan society. They include favoritism, bribery, forgery and theft of intellectual property, abuse of office among others. This discussion lays the foundation for the analysis of the causes of corruption in Kenya. They include among others ethnic chauvinism, poor governance and some cultural practices. This discussion helps us to come to the basis of moral values and principles, which include moral rights and the well being of the society. This study examines morality and recommends it as the long-term measure in combating corruption. Morality ought to play a pivotal role in regulating human conduct and is thus core in undermining corruption.