Year of Promoting Ethical Behaviour: Do good, Be more, Fight Corruption.
The Monster in our Society
Corruption is thriving. It’s present in broad daylight, in the public and private sectors alike. Many corrupt practices and scandals involving embezzlement of funds are unearthed every day. Public servants squander public resources and solicit bribes. Corporations evade taxes. It doesn’t stop there. Employees ‘stealing’ work hours from their employers through ‘side hustles’ and students cheating in exams all perpetuate this culture. And the list goes on. The amounts involved are colossal and the poor bear the heaviest burden.
Fighting the Dragon
From Strathmore’s inception, Ethical Practice has been one of our most cherished values. Our Institution honours the beliefs, morals and values of the academic profession and helps others to do the same. We seek to inculcate in our students the pursuit of the common good above personal good, service above material wealth. During his most recent trip to the University in December 2019, our Chancellor, Monsignor Fernando Ocáriz, while addressing a question on the subject of corruption, challenged us to be more proactive, and not to give in too easily even though the pressure we face may be high.
New Year, New Theme
That is why, seconding the efforts of the people of Kenya and the Catholic Bishops who have recently gone on an intensified offensive against corruption, we at Strathmore University have chosen to dedicate 2020 as the Year of Promoting Ethical Behaviour: Do good, Be more, Fight corruption. This will be our theme and tagline for the year.
In the course of the year, we shall come up with initiatives aimed at increasing public awareness on the ills of corruption. Additionally, individual efforts to fight or resist corrupt practices shall be encouraged. For students, this may mean being honest in exams, refraining from plagiarism, being sincere with others and attending classes parents and guardians have paid for. For staff, this may mean working the stipulated hours, making accurate claims on forms, disclosing conflict of interest, etc.
In addition to our efforts to be more ethical on a personal level, we should also be proactive and take leadership in promoting ethical values in our country. We could do this by organizing conferences, debates, and workshops. We could blog, vlog and tweet about the theme. We could write op-ed pieces, and join in or produce television shows, plays or documentaries. Active participation in boards, think-tanks, and policy-making bodies is also to be encouraged.
Long walk to freedom
The journey towards ridding our society of corrupt practices is going to be long and tough. However, we mustn’t give in to lethargy. Let us tread this long and tough path together convinced of the enormous collective potential of our efforts if we each take this theme seriously.
Let us do so by focusing on the person, by striving to be better, by being good role models, conscious that with me, begins the end of corruption. Let us arise, be useful, put on our cloak of integrity and join the noble cause.
Let us do good.
Let us be more.
Let us fight corruption.
And together we shall win!
Prof. John Odhiambo