News

NGO Alleges Widespread Bribery in Kenyan Election Campaign

Multimedia

Audio

A coalition of Kenyan non-governmental organizations has released a new report charging parties and candidates with widespread bribing of voters before presidential and parliamentary elections scheduled for December 27. Derek Kilner has more for VOA from Nairobi.

The report, based on a survey conducted in 71 legislative constituencies, found that nearly 80 percent of voters were offered cash or other gifts before party nominations for seats in parliament in mid-November.

The report, released by the Coalition for Accountable Political Financing, a group of 36 Kenyan organizations, says candidates spent more than $14 million on bribes by the time the nominations process was complete. The report also notes less than one third of this money was distributed to individual voters, with the majority going to middlemen employed by the candidates.

Report author Charles Otieno, who heads the organization Polity and Policy, explains the rational behind the bribery.

"Look at it this way, you have a constituency that is very poor, people living on less than one dollar a day, and someone turns up with one dollar every day to offer you to vote for them on the election day," he said. "So what politicians do is they come up with a strategy of actually getting voters in different social groups and these people actually give the money every day to secure their vote on election day"

Otieno says the money used for bribes comes from a variety of sources

"A lot of it is stolen from the state, from the government. A lot of it is donated from private companies that actually want to secure certain contracts with the government in the future. A lot of it is from their savings," he added. "Some of it is also from what has been donated by the people. But we believe much of it is corrupt because most politicians cannot account for the millions that they are spending in the campaign."

The NGO coalition, whose members include the League of Kenya Women Voters and the Kenya branch of Transparency International, was partly funded by contributions from Britain and the United States. The report focused on the campaigns for party nominations for parliamentary seats.

Many of Kenya's parties have strong regional and ethnic bases. And in districts dominated by a single party, securing that party's nomination is seen as a virtual ticket to parliament. The nomination process also set off a series of violent protests in mid-November.

Otieno says the government is making progress on reforming campaign finance, but there is still a long way to go.

"It is a travesty. We do not have a democracy. What we have here is a group of rich people buying their seat in parliament," he said.

Kenya is scheduled to hold presidential and parliamentary elections on December 27. President Mwai Kibaki, running on the Party of National Unity ticket, is locked in a close contest with challenger Raila Odinga of the Orange Democratic Movement.

Most opinion polls show Mr. Odinga leading the president by a slight margin, but the gap has narrowed considerably in recent weeks.

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs