Sunday, February 22, 2009

"At Least We're not as Bad as......."

Often when politicians in government and government employees like PS's are interviewed on corruption scandals, poor service delivery, inefficiency etc, they will say things like "even the west has scandals", "country 'a' (usually USA/UK/Germany or some other 'developed country') is just as bad/worse, "at least we are not as bad as country d (usually Somalia)" etc etc.

I find this argument counter productive at best; damaging and insulting at worst.

Rather than consoling ourselves with what is rubbish or average, we need to be benchmarking ourselves with what is the very best in the world. If our quest is truly to make this country great, we do not have the luxury of patting ourselves on the back because others have bigger scandals or worse roads or slower service provision.

The developed economies can absorb some corruption and they can absorb some inefficiency.

Our government needs to realize that ours cannot; that one shilling has far greater significance to Kenya and to a Kenyan than it does to the US or UK or Saudi Arabia and to their citizens.

Comparing us and our scandals/inefficiency to them and theirs is abit like me comparing losing a million of my shillings to Chris Kirubi losing a million of his. The loss of the million would cripple me financially, it would probably not even dent his bank balance.

So whereas CK can be extravagant, cavalier and don't care with his resources, I cannot afford to be the same with mine.

I think that each and every one of our Government departments/parastatals/councils and tax spending organizations should be looking at who is the best at doing what they do in the world and replicating or surpassing that for Kenyans.

Our vehicle registration department, for example, should not concern itself with how bad Italy's vehicle registration system is, but with which country's vehicle registration system is the best and how we in Kenya can copy, adapt and implement a system of our own that is either to that standard or better. I don't care if the registration department in question is in the US, Bahrain, Rwanda or Tibet.

Great people do not become great by being average..they out-hustle, out-think, out-try and out-fight average people. Similarly if we want our country to be great, then we are going to have to aim for much higher than average. I would like to see this reflected in the things our ministers/PS's and others say and do.

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