Corruption is a strange industry. It can take only three people, one working full time and the other two as “sleeping” directors, a few months to make a profit of Sh500 million. To make the same amount in a month, it takes some of our best known companies a lot of man hours, billions of shillings in capital and infrastructure.
This makes one thing clear, corruption spawns laziness and unemployment and stifles business opportunity. Even worse it makes markets unstable as those who make money easily also spend it lavishly making things more expensive.
The ordinary man is therefore an alien as the journey to wealth seems impossible without access to State power and coffers. In fact, for most of us, our friends with new cars and new houses are more often than not doing a “deal”—they recently got the title ‘mheshimiwa.’
As we fight against corruption, we must look at ways of making the average Kenyans to also access wealth. In fact, it is important that they are enabled to access wealth in a legitimate way, otherwise all we will have is a population waiting for their chance to eat, if it is not the case already.
You see in a corrupt system, hard work, intelligence and integrity do not lead to success because corruption would much rather gift the most vile and violent among us as they tend to do the evil deeds necessary to secure their success.
The rags-to-riches story, through the right channel, is becoming almost impossible in our country. Even established businesses are struggling while corruption is making millionaires and billionaires.
There needs to be a way out for the average Kenyan and that way has to be some sort of a co-operative. There needs to be an amalgamation of ideas and capital to propel Kenyans to success and wealth.
The statistics seem to favour this movement. Today, co-operatives hold over 40 per cent of the GDP and 35 per cent of total savings in the country. This means if they are supported further they can easily change our country. The fact that they are easy to join also means they can easily distribute wealth to larger swathes of the population.
Kenyans need to have processes through which they can succeed and through large co-operatives they should not only be able to afford credit cheaper but also see their savings grow as co-operatives invest and use member funds wisely to prosper them.This will save the dual problem of access to affordable credit as well as financial growth. As large co-operatives, they can also demand larger chunks of the national cake through lobbies and capital might.
It would be interesting to see a future where co-operatives pool resources to tender for government jobs. This would possibly mean that a co-operative of plumbers can be contracted by the Ministry of Works to deliver plumbing services to a city, for example.
This would mean that the co-operative would be able to give its members access to employment while making them profits, which they would never have accessed as individuals.
This kind of business model would also deal a heavy blow to corruption because those involved would be unlikely to sabotage their own sacco. At the same time we would have successfully managed to remove tenders from the high and mighty and made them available to the average Kenyan.
Saccos also have the capacity to amalgamate votes in a non-tribal setting. Each savings and credit co-operative (sacco), by nature, puts people with similar careers, businesses or goals together regardless of tribe.
Mr Bichachi is a communication consultant. firstname.lastname@example.org