Kenya: Lead war on corruption, Kenyans tell Kibaki

Ochieng Oreyo – The East African Standard (Nairobi)

August 17, 2006

Kenyans have asked President Kibaki to lead the war against corruption from the front, a new survey shows.

They want the Head of State to marshal his foot soldiers and direct the fight to crush the vice, which 70 per cent believe can be won.

In the damning report commissioned by the Government’s own National Anti-Corruption Campaign Steering Committee, over 73 per cent of Kenyans feel the President is best suited to lead the war.

And 96 per cent of those interviewed agreed corruption is a major issue. While releasing the report titled “The State of Corruption in Kenya – Knowledge, Attitudes, Practices and Behaviour,” a committee director, Mr Polycarp Ochilo, said

Kenyans saw the President as the “trustee of the collective will” in slaying the marauding dragon.

Prosecuting corruption suspects

The report comes just weeks after another one by the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission (KACC) cited the Office of the President as the most corrupt institution.

Wednesday’s report said about 60 per cent of Kenyans were dissatisfied with the country’s progress since President Kibaki took power in 2002 on the promise to fight corruption and respect the rule of law.

Those who said the Government was half-hearted and “slightly committed” to its self-declared zero-tolerance on corruption accounted for 63.4 per cent, while another 23.7 per cent saw no commitment at all.

Kenyans said prosecuting corruption suspects was “the surest way for the Government to demonstrate its commitment.”

Although Kenyans believed reporting corruption would be an effective way of taming the vice, they have opted to keep quiet.

About 59.8 per cent agreed they had witnessed corruption but were unwilling to report it fearing for their lives and believing the suspects would not be prosecuted.

Anti-corruption activities

Another 88 per cent graded the police as “the most ineffective institution in the fight against corruption.”

Chairman of the committee chairman, the Rev Mutava Musyimi, said his team needed scientific proof to guide its campaigns and advocacy.

In the study, 38.8 per cent of those polled expressed confidence in the Government’s work since the last General Election.

And in a major indictment, only 9.9 per cent approved of the State’s commitment to fight graft.

The Sh3.5 million study by Strategic Public Relations would, among other things, guide the planning and implementation of the anti-corruption activities and guide its policies and decision-making.

“The involvement of the citizenry is a deliberate approach on the basis of paradigm shift from the position where professionals undertook to know it all and push issues down the throats of the public.”

Police are still rated the most corrupt, followed by procurement officers in Government, Cabinet ministers and MPs, the study says.

Media campaigns

Most people would prefer reporting corruption to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) (27.2 per cent) while only 16.5 per cent would do so at KACC’s Integrity Centre.

Bribery to the police, the public said, is the most common form of corruption followed by land grabbing and favouritism in police recruitment.

Kenyans, the study found out, pay a bribe of between Sh100 and Sh1,000 while they bought jobs for in excess Sh50,000.

Acquiring passports, birth certificates and business permits, according to the study, involves systems that abet corruption.

The report identifies ethnicity as a major problem, with over 62 per cent of Kenyans believing it is “strange” when a company executive employs staff from outside his tribe.

Without stating when, Musyimi said he hoped to present the report to President Kibaki and share with him what Kenyans expected of him.

From the report, the NCCK head said, it was clear Kenyans were beginning to appreciate that the war against corruption belonged to them.

Ochilo said in September, the committee would engage the public in media campaigns through talk shows to review its work.

Categories: Africa, Kenya, Odious Debts

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