In Kenya, the police force has contributed significantly to corruption. Many policemen are underpaid which leads to a dilemma that can result in corruption. The corrupt police are unaware that their selfish acts have caused a large amount of misfortune on citizens that desperately need aid.
According to a recent survey, the East African Bribery Index Report by Transparency International, 92 percent of civilians in Kenya ranked their police as the most corrupt and many of them have paid a bribe to their police during the last 12 months. Ever thought why? Usually, civilians are extorted, into paying police for access to various services such as to speed up the service, for swiftness of the rightful legal process, to avoid problems with the authorities. Some even bribe to avoid paying full sum of the service, to escape legal actions taken against them, to access information, to avoid judicial punishments among other reasons.
There are some victims who do not report as they claim that they did not know where to report, they have cultivated the culture of knowing that no action would be taken even if they reported the case, had no knowledge that there is the need to report, fear of intimidation, the institution to report was inaccessible among other reasons.
I always ask myself if corruption is ingrained in our culture, our way of life.
We should object the idea that corruption is our way forward, we can fight corruption through countless and promising mechanisms. An example is through advocacy aid aimed at enhancing better transparency and integrity, stimulate accountability to the public by the police force, identify existing social networks, structures, organizations, social institutions and use them as a vehicle for communication to the citizens advocating against corruption, embark on encouraging the public to promote a corruption free society, interview and document ex-officers on their experiences working in the police force and if they accepted any form of bribery, reasons for accepting bribery.
The public should give confidence to the social environment to dismiss the stigma attached to police service and bribery, research on how far the police service have undergone training and how effective the most recent trainings have been for the police officers. Has the training encouraged integrity and transparency? Investigations with a more effective judicial climate need to be put in place.
The time is now to wrestle the submission to corruption which has led to lack of confidence in our police force and unfortunately led to vulnerability for the citizens through insecurity. We should unite for the power rested in human dignity, freedom and solidarity so that we can confront and meet the end of police corruption in our beloved country Kenya.
By Natasha El-kathiri, a Regional Intern at WYA Africa.
Featured photo by R∂lf Κλενγελ.