Kenyans on Thursday (31 May 2018) came out in the thousands and brought traffic to a standstill in the Kenyan capital Nairobi to protest one of the biggest corruption scandals ever to hit the East African country.
On the streets, scores of people blew whistles and chanted slogans as they marched towards the Supreme Court, the Kenyan parliament and the office of the president to deliver petitions bearing their grievances.
Anthony Kamau, carrying a placard with “Kenyans are tired, stop these thieves” written it, told Anadolu Agency that as a youth in Kenya he has yet to be employed despite graduating five years ago with a Bachelor of Arts.
“There is unemployment because they are stealing our money. Money meant to provide jobs and arm us with skills to be self-employed is going into the pockets of just a few people holding government offices. The politicians, banks and even companies are working in cahoots,” he said.
Earlier this week it was revealed that $100 million was stolen from the National Youth Service, money that was to go to creating employment for the youth.
One of the organizers of the protests, Wanjeri Nderu said that it was high time that the youth stand up for themselves and fight corruption.
“We are here protesting against the wanton theft that we are seeing with government officials in this country, Kenyans are angry, these people are stealing our money left right and center, and they are sanitizing the whole process by calling it corruption. It is theft and we have to call it by what it is. these people are thieves and they deserve to be hanged,” she said.
Mark Wambai, another protester, called on the government to recover the stolen money as soon as possible and put those behind the theft behind bars.
“For Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta to redeem himself and show that he really wants to fight corruption he should ensure that the 54 who have been named never see the light of day again,” he said.
The latest survey from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics estimates that 7 million Kenyans are currently unemployed.
Kenya’s Directorate of criminal investigations has said that a total of six banks which are believed to be involved in the theft of public funds are being investigated.
At least 30 people out of 54 who are the main suspects in the scandal have been charged in court, among them youth affairs principal secretary in the Public Service Ministry Lilian Omollo and the National Youth Service director general Richard Ndubai. Charges read to them include corruption, fraud, and abuse of office.
The organizers of the protests have vowed to hold the protest to fight corruption every Thursday until the money is recovered and used as it was planned.