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Kenya Parliament Rejects Anti-Corruption Bill - 2001-08-14


Kenya's parliament has rejected a key anti-corruption proposal. The opposition says the government deliberately introduced a defective bill because it is not really serious about fighting corruption.

Thousands of people lined the streets outside parliament to learn whether parliament would vote to establish the Kenya Anti-Corruption Authority.

Even though President Daniel arap Moi voted for the legislation, the first time in Kenya's history that a president has ever voted on a bill, the government was 15 votes short of the two-thirds majority it needed to pass the proposal into law. There were 130 votes for it and 82 opposed.

Opponents of the bill argued that it was flawed because the anti-corruption authority it would have created would not have been completely independent of the government.

President Moi had appealed to the opposition to back the legislation, saying it would unlock $320 million in donor aid. The International Monetary Fund and other foreign donor groups have suspended aid to Kenya because of their concerns about corruption.

The leader of the opposition Ford-Kenya party and an opponent of the anti-corruption bill, Michael Wamalwa, says President Moi must get serious about tackling corruption and only then will his government get more aid. "If this bill was important to the president, he should have sought our support at the drafting stage," he said. "There is so much conflict that you can only conclude that whoever was the draftsman did not intend this thing to take off and fly at all because the discrepancies were too obvious."

Mr. Wamalwa adds that even if defeat of the bill costs Kenya foreign aid, he says the money would not have gone where it was needed.

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