NEWS 2005

 

Graft has gone up, say Kenyans

Story by LUCAS BARASA
Publication Date: 9/17/2005

Ninety four per cent of Kenyans think corruption has increased since Narc came to power in 2003, says a report.

But the report was rejected by some civil society leaders who claimed it was not inclusive and that it had been doctored to suit some interests.

The 94 per cent of people felt "corruption was growing instead of decreasing," said the local African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) national governing council chairperson, the Rev Jepthah Gathaka.

He was speaking during an APRM national stakeholders consultative forum at Kenyatta International Conference Centre, Nairobi, yesterday.

The Rev Gathaka said he witnessed policemen receiving bribes at a roadblock, showing that the vice was still on and that "the 94 per cent was not an exaggeration and the percentage could even be more."

"Of the 13 roadblocks I passed while travelling to Busia, there were activities going on either behind or in front of the vehicle. It is a pity that Kenyans can no longer be proud of being Kenyan," he said.

Mr Lesrima

People felt the Government was not doing much to end the vice but they too continued to give bribes, he said.

However, in the report, Kenyans praise the Government for introducing free primary education and attempting to improve health services.

The Rev Gathaka warned: "They however feel the Government is turning from being of the people, for the people, to that of politicians for politicians."

The report captured the views of Kenyans, said the Rev Gathaka.

Planning and National Development assistant minister Simeon Lesrima said the report was a reflection of what Kenyans thought about governance but denied that corruption had increased on a large scale in the past two and a half years. "It is a question of perception and opening up of democratic space and freedom of expression," he said.

Prof Michael Chege, an adviser for the Planning ministry, said Kenyans had also given the Government credit for trying to deal with corruption.

They were, however, unhappy with the small number of prosecutions and recovery of stolen property.

"Many of those implicated in graft are still free and the Government has to try hard to bring them to book," he said.

But the Government was accused of interfering with the process and doctoring the report by a group of civil society leaders at Pan-Afric Hotel.

The group, led by former local APRM national governing council chairperson Grace Akumu, said key actors in the process were also locked out.

"The minister should be prevailed upon from delivering a flawed APRM Kenya Report," they said in a statement.

The review falls under Planning minister Anyang' Nyongo's docket.

The group also vowed to urge the APRM continental secretariat in South Africa to reject the report and allow them to conduct a shadow review which would include the views of all Kenyans.

Kenya is among four countries chosen by the New Partnership for African Development (Nepad) for the APRM survey, which looks at the country's performance in political, democratic, socio-economic and good corporate governance. The others are Rwanda, Ghana and Mauritius.

Rwanda and Ghana have already presented their reports but Mauritius' was rejected for alleged government interference.