Pope Francis has urged Kenyan youths to resist the temptation of corruption, saying it’s like sugar: you develop a taste for it but it’s ultimately terrible for you.
Francis spoke off the cuff to thousands of young people gathered in Nairobi’s Kasarani stadium, and reflected on problems raised by two young Kenyans, including tribalism, extremism and corruption, which is a major obstacle in Kenya.
Francis said corruption was not just found in politics. He said: “It’s in all the institutions, including in the Vatican there are cases of corruption.”
He said it was “something that eats us inside. It is sugar: we like it, it’s easy.”
The Pope added: “Each time when we accept a bribe and we put it in our pockets, we destroy our hearts and personalities and we destroy our country. Please don’t develop that taste for that sugar which is called corruption.”
Francis said the damage that corruption did was felt down the generations. “It will remain in those who suffer, in those children who suffer, because through your corruption you will have caused their suffering. Corruption is not a path to life,” he said.
Transparency International has voted the Kenyan police force as the most corrupt institution in the country every year for the last decade. Kenya ranked a low 145 out of 174 countries in the Transparency International 2014 index of how common corruption is perceived to be among citizens of various countries.
The Pope also called for an end to tribalism, asking all those in the stadium to hold hands and say “we are all a nation”.