News / Africa

‘War on Graft’ Becomes Political in Kenya

Kenya's industrialization minister Henry Kosgey appears at the High Court in Nairobi. The Kenyan government minister pleaded not guilty to a dozen counts of abuse of office, hours after resigning to allow for an investigation into a scam involving imports
Kenya's industrialization minister Henry Kosgey appears at the High Court in Nairobi. The Kenyan government minister pleaded not guilty to a dozen counts of abuse of office, hours after resigning to allow for an investigation into a scam involving imports
Michael Onyiego

As the Kenyan government returns for the New Year, the 'War on Graft' is heating up in the capital, but some are hitting back at allegations, accusing opponents of playing politics with the anti-corruption crusade.

Just four days into 2011, the Kenyan Anti-Corruption Commission added yet another member of Kenya’s Cabinet to its list of high-profile targets.

On January 4, Industrialization Minister Henry Kosgey was charged by the KACC with abuse of his office for his role in the illegal importation of used automobiles into Kenya in 2010.

Facing removal from office under the Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Act, Kosgey instead decided to step aside later in the day.

"I have today written to his excellence the president and the right honorable prime minister, offering to step aside as minister for industrialization to allow for these charges to be fully investigated," he stated.

Kosgey is the fourth Cabinet minister to be hit with corruption charges since late 2010.

The list also includes Foreign Affairs Minister Moses Wetang’ula, Higher Education Minister William Ruto and Water Minister Charity Ngilu.

His resignation makes him the fourth Cabinet minister from the Orange Democratic Movement to be targeted by the anti-corruption body.  The Orange Democratic Movement is the country’s main opposition group and part of the Government of National Unity formed in 2008 after the country’s post-election violence.

Some members of the Orange Democratic Movement are charging the so-called "War on Graft" is unfairly targeting opposition members.  Parliament Member John Mbadi called Kosgey’s case harassment and declared Wednesday the party would not allow the victimization of its members.

Appointed Parliament Member Rachael Shebesh further demanded an investigation into some of Kenya’s other infamous corruption scandals.  "When will the big issues be dealt with?  When will Kenyans see Anglo-Leasing be dealt with?  When will we see issues of Goldenberg being completed?  When will we see issues of Triton being hit on the nail?" she asked.

The ruling Party of National Unity hit back instantly, accusing the Orange Democratic Movement of playing politics with anti-corruption efforts.  But many fear the tenure of Anti-Corruption chief Patrick Lumumba, which has been praised by both local and international observers, could become mired in Kenyan politics.

Government Spokesperson Alfred Mutua is calling for calm on both sides. “The president and the prime minister have been very clear for a long time that the fight against corruption is not targeted at any particular group,” Mutua says, “or any particular political association, or any particular religion.  The fight against corruption is a fight against individuals."

Mutua told reporters the anti-corruption investigations would target anyone suspected of graft, regardless of political affiliation.

Anti-Corruption Chief Lumumba also assured Kenyans that other "big fish" are under investigation for graft.

But there are still concerns that the country’s largest players will evade prosecution.  Recently leaked cables from the US Embassy in Nairobi identified both President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga as part of the problem, with vested interests in the status quo. Both leaders have vehemently denied involvement in theft or corruption.

Kenya has struggled with corruption during its nearly 50-year history.  In 2010 Kenya was ranked 154 out of 178 countries in Transparency International’s annual corruption perception index.   The Berlin-based organization also ranked Kenya’s police, Judiciary and Nairobi City Council as among the most corrupt institutions in East Africa.

Kenya’s Finance Ministry has estimated about $3.3 billion, more than one quarter of Kenya’s national budget, are lost through corruption annually.

You May Like

Conflicts Engulf Christians in Mideast

Research finds an increase in faith-based hostilities, and Christians are facing persecution in a growing number of countries in the region More

Chinese Americans: Don’t Call Us 'Model Minority'

Label points to collective achievement, but some say it triggers resentment, unrealistic expectations More

Iran Bolsters Phone, Internet Surveillance

Does increased monitoring suggest the government is nervous? 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.
West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015i
X
Carol Pearson
August 30, 2014 7:14 PM
A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Polish Ghetto

When the Nazi army moved into the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.

AppleAndroid