PRESIDENCY THE BIGGEST CONDUIT OF PATRONAGE: WHY MORE KIKUYUS ARE INVOLVED IN NYS AND KALENJINS IN ENERGY SCANDALS
By Adung’osi Ikol
I once said this and received backlash from some quarters. It’s no coincidence that the names of the suspects in the NYS scandal are from a particular tribe. The argument by many members of the president’s tribe has been that there is nothing they directly benefit from the presidency and they suffer like the rest of us. Whereas I fully agree with this, because it’s true that corruption eventually disrupts the provision of services making everyone suffer, there’s the other side of the story which they persistently refuse to consider.
Due to the politics of patronage and selective development since independence, the presidency has become the biggest conduit of patronage. When the president gets to power, mainly supported by members of his tribe, he establishes a pipeline of patronage that begins with the closest people to him (usually from his tribe) eventually percolating to the bottom, while systematically disenfranchising those communities perceived not to support him. Most government appointments will be from the president’s tribe and in turn, these people will appoint their people in influential positions like procurement which will, in turn, determine the tenders. This eventually creates little differences at the bottom which over time may amount to significant economic differences between communities.
Most of these proceeds from corruption eventually end up in the legitimate economy. These corrupt individuals will invest these proceeds in their home areas and in their communities. They will invest in businesses that will employ members of their community and this will eventually concentrate resources in those communities while disadvantaging the other communities. These little differences over several generations will make huge differences in economic terms. That is why Kiambu is richer than Turkana. It’s not magic. No wonder the presidency is still hotly contested…remember even with devolution, it still controls 85% of the economy.