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.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora