A new book on the extent of corruption in Kenya says it has permeated all sectors of the society, including the church. The Monster Called Corruption identifies some of the most affected areas as the public service, the councils, the private sector, non-governmental and religious organisations and trade unions.
The writers note that “the battle on graft is complex and protracted “, and must be won at all costs.
They acknowledge recent government efforts by setting up more than 10 bodies to combat it, but argue that the efforts will come a cropper unless the leaders and the general public change their attitudes and support the campaigns.
The publisher, Ecumenical Centre for Justice and Peace, intends to use the booklet in civic education campaigns throughout the country.
But the authors do not quantify their findings by giving statistics and names. They have also failed to highlight the cases of grand corruption such as the Goldenberg scandal during the Moi administration, which is before a judicial commission of inquiry, and that of the Anglo Leasing and Finance company, which is being investigated by President Kibaki’s government.
This seeming oversight was noted by Planning and National Development minister Anyang’ Nyong’o in his critique during the launch on Tuesday, when he noted that “it (book) emphasises the perception of graft more than the facts.”
The authors argue: “Corruption affects all sectors of the society and causes misery and hopelessness. It must be fought by everybody at all levels of society.”
Written by Mr Barasa Nyukuri and Mr Jephthah Gathaka, the book is funded by German NGO Hanns-Seidel Stiftung.
It says that the success of the anti-corruption war will depend on whether there is enough political will, from the highest office in the land, how strong and effective the judiciary is and the strength and independence of the anti-graft institutions.
Among the issues the writers want addressed are widespread poverty, limited resources, bad governance, poor leadership and citizen apathy, abuse of the rule of law, poor corporate governance and and moral decay.
The book, the result of ECJP civic education workshops in the last half of 2003 and the first half of this year, concludes by warning that the graft war will be won only with everybody’s participation and support.
It was launched by South Mugirango MP Omingo Magara at Ufungamano House, Nairobi.
Said Dr Helmut Danner, the resident representative of the German NGO: “The fight (against corruption) needs everybody, but it has to start with an individual.”
The Nation (Nairobi), August 19, 2004