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The Time and Place for Public Education and Awareness in Times of Crisis: The Story of Kenya


Transparency International is noted to have stated “Countries will not succeed in their recovery efforts (corona related) if they don’t also tackle corruption.” It is acknowledged the world over that corruption often thrives in times of crisis, as the UN Secretary-General António Guterres said in a statement: “Corruption is criminal, immoral and the ultimate betrayal of public trust. It is even more damaging in times of crisis – as the world is experiencing now with the COVID-19 pandemic” (Guterres, n.d.). Unfortunately, Kenya is one of the African countries that witnessed an unprecedented upsurge of corruption during the COVID-19 pandemic. The response to the virus created new opportunities to exploit. The government’s attempt to curtail the spread of the pandemic and save lives meant overlooking laid down principles, rules, and regulations of procurement. Sadly, the tenders and funds given out during the COVID-19 crisis created overnight millionaires diverting funds away from people in their hour of greatest need. Corona Billionaires headlines trended on all mainstream and social media. The period witnessed two problems co-joined on the hip—COVID-19 and corruption. This called for sustained public education and awareness. This paper addresses the twin challenge of corruption and COVID-19 in Kenya and discusses the place of public education and awareness in the fight against corruption particularly in times of crisis. The proverbial saying “an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure” still rings true to this day. A total of 190 respondents randomly sampled were reached though a questionnaire using an online survey platform. The findings of the study have an implication for management practices and anti-corruption strategies. The paper is a call to anti-corruption agencies to re-think the place of Education and Public Awareness in efforts to combat corruption.


corruption, crisis, COVID-19, education, public awareness, governance