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What is code of conduct in a corrupt society?

The word code of ethics or code of conduct is not new to Kenyans. Performance contract is not a new thing in the mouth of the Kenyan leadership. The same leaders slaughtered the provision on integrity and watered down the provision of ethics. The same leaders fear the word “Ethics” just by the sound of the word. “Ethos” in Greek translated into “Mores” in Latin and Morals in English has lost gusto in the Kenyan society and lets not lie, speaking about professional ethics to professionals is like saying, I teach you table manners.
President Uhuru has done well to articulate the obvious. He only showed his political will and stamina to deal with corruption and restore credibility of Kenyans in the Jubilee administration. Code or Codex is a book of rules to which every person must conform yet code of ethics is not legally binding but morally binding. But how can the President speak to the conscience of Kenyans about corruption? He is prescriptive but not suggestive in his stand on Business and code of ethics. Signing a code of ethics is to set a value based principle but it must be coupled by legislation in order to bear fruit. Fight on corruption must begin with stringent laws…Telling Kenyans to sign code of ethics and when a case of corruption gets to court, it will be squashed of lack of sufficient evidence. Courts are not equipped by laws to fight corruption.
What the President has pronounced can be a policy but Parliament must translate this into law. Judges must be facilitated to do good work in the fight on corruption. Code of Ethics is not a legislation and cannot be interpreted by the judicial authorities. Code of conduct and performance contract have been proposed by previous governments but fell between a rock and a hard place. The reason is, Ethics does not speak into the conscience and morality of many Kenyans. Kenyans as a people hate corruption and would not like to see their money being stolen but, do they appreciate the common good? This is where the problem lies. As so long as Kenyans will not care about common roads in their residents but care about their apartments, the selfishness shall still reign. Ethics is within each individuals conscience while law is external, ethics is internal. Code of ethics is intrinsic and can only be interpreted in the court of conscience. How many sign code of ethics and continue acting in the opposite way? How many leaders shun corruption but accept bribes or give hand-outs to their electorates? How many ordinary Kenyans enjoy receiving 200 shillings in order to sell their votes to politicians and deny doing the same to whoever gives nothing to them? How many Kenyans still foresee their hope in their tribe-mates even if they are corrupt? How many leaders still refer to others as watu wangu?
Code of ethics is a broader issue, it is the sense of the “common good”, public interest and humanity. If this is lacking, then we cannot speak loud about code of ethics. Pending one’s signature on a paper is different from personal conviction to do the right thing.
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About Peter Onyango

Dr. Peter Onyango O. is one of our main contributors. He is a senior law lecturer, a writer, a consultant, peace ambassador, and a researcher. He assists so many professionals, legal minds, and debaters with his skills and scholarly wealth! He supports children and village community as a way of giving back to community. He edits, proof reads, and publishes various articles for our page!

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