News / Africa

Kenya's Fight Against Corruption Goes High Tech

Anthony Ragui says his website I Paid a Bribe collects stories about bribes paid as well as those who refused to be bribed

A handful of anti-corruption demonstrators hold a chain during a protest in downtown Nairobi, 17 Feb 2010 (file photo)
A handful of anti-corruption demonstrators hold a chain during a protest in downtown Nairobi, 17 Feb 2010 (file photo)

Multimedia

Audio
  • Listen to Butty interview with Anthony Ragui of Kenya

James Butty

The founder of a new website aimed at fighting corruption has called on Kenyans to harness their collective energy against graft. The website I Paid a Bribe allows Kenyans to share their experiences with corruption.

Founder Anthony Ragui said Kenyans are fed up with bribery that is often at the heart of corruption.

“One of the things that happens in Kenya is that Kenyans like to talk all the time.  But, because of changes in the world, a lot of this is being done in social blogs, in the social media, on Facebook and all that.  All of us young people are all complaining about corruption, and I think ultimately what I got tired of was all of complaining about all these things and doing nothing about it, and I thought that I needed to do something different from what was being done,” he said.

Ragui said he drew some inspiration to start the website from the ‘Arab Spring’ uprisings across North Africa and the Middle East.

“In Tunisia, it took one person to put himself on fire to have a change in that country; in Egypt, it took a very strong person to be able to bring some change in Egypt, and I’m saying it also takes one person to make a difference,” Ragui said.

The website, launched January, is divided into three sections.  One section collects stories about bribes paid listing the amount, as well as where and when the incident occurred.

Another section collects information about people who have refused to pay bribes and the third provides a forum for instances of honesty, when a bribe was not required.

Ragui said, while he may not be able to completely reveal every corrupt practice, he would be a happy man if he could change one government ministry.

“What I’m hoping is that, by harnessing the energy of Kenyans and citizens in Africa, we can be able to change how things are done in our continent because, remember, that corruption creates networks of people who are corrupt, and these people make money through corruption.  My hope, therefore, is that, [by] using the data we are going to be able to harness from this site, we can be able to change even if it’s one department and how many bribes are paid into it, then we would make a difference,”  Ragui said.

He said, while government officials tend to benefit from what he calls “grand corruption,” many of the poor in Africa suffer from “petite bribery.”

“The problem with petite bribery, which is really what we are trying to get [at], is that it affects the poor people, in their villages, in their little towns, and in their big towns from small little things like getting the proper kind of service,” he said.

Ragui said his website encourages every Kenyan to feel free to say what is not going right in their community.

He said he has met with the World Bank and other organizations asking for funding that would make his website more interactive.

“There are a couple of things I want to do.  One of them is that I want to do something that I think would be very powerful.  I’m hoping to get some donors to help with that, and [that] is building an SMS interface onto the website which then can be used by the ordinary Kenyan to report a bribe via cell phone on an SMS that will go to the database and be uploaded to the site,” he said.

Ragui said, by building the SMS interface, he will be able to reach more Kenyans than he is able to do right now.

You May Like

India PM Modi's party distances itself from religious conversions

BJP under fire for being slow to rein in hardline affiliate groups allegedly trying to promote a Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert to Hinduism More

Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers in the waters off Antarctica continue their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt More

UN's Ban Urges End to Discrimination Against Ebola Workers

Ban was speaking in Guinea on the second day of a whistle-stop tour aimed at thanking healthcare workers of the countries at the heart of the epidemic More

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.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid