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

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

Euro falls after European Central Bank announces a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program More

Saudi King’s Death Clears Succession Route

Prince Mohammed Bin Nayef is Saudi Arabia's New Crown Prince-in-waiting More

Cloud Hangs Over US Counterterrorism Efforts in Yemen

Sources say resignations of Yemen's president, government has left US anti-terror operations 'paralyzed,' yet an American military 'footprint' remains 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.
Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youthi
X
Julie Taboh
January 23, 2015 11:08 PM
Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.
Video

Video US Marching Bands Grow Into a Show of Their Own

The 2014 Super Bowl halftime show was the most-watched in history - attracting an estimated 115 million viewers. That event featured pop star Bruno Mars. But the halftime show tradition started with marching bands, which still dominate the entertainment at U.S. high school and college American football games. But as Enming Liu reports in this story narrated by Adrianna Zhang, marching bands have grown into a show of their own.
Video

Video Secular, Religious Kurds Face Off in Southeast Turkey

Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast has been rocked by violence between religious and secular Kurds. Dorian Jones reports on the reasons behind the stand-off from the region's main city of Diyarbakir, which suffered the bloodiest fighting.
Video

Video Kenya: Misuse of Antibiotics Leading to Resistance by Immune System

In Kenya, the rise of drug resistant bacteria could reverse the gains made by medical science over diseases that were once treatable. Kenyans could be at risk of fatalities as a result if the power in antibiotics is not preserved. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story from Nairobi.
Video

Video Solar-Powered Plane Getting Ready to Circumnavigate Globe

Pilots of the solar plane that already set records flying without a drop of fuel are close to making their first attempt to fly the craft around the globe. They plan to do it in 25 flying days over a five month period. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video How Experts Decide Ethiopia Has the Best Coffee

Ethiopia’s coffee has been ranked as the best in the world by an international group of coffee connoisseurs. Not surprisingly, coffee is a top export for the country. But at home it is a source of pride. Marthe van der Wolf in Addis Ababa decided to find out what makes the bean and brew so special and how experts make their determinations.
Video

Video Yazidi Refugees at Center of Political Fight Between Turkey, Kurds

The treatment of thousands of Yazidis refugees who fled to Turkey to escape attacks by Islamic State militants has become the center of a dispute between the Turkish government and the country's pro-Kurdish movement. VOA's Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video World’s Richest 1% Forecast to Own More Than Half of Global Wealth

The combined wealth of the world's richest 1 percent will overtake that of the remaining 99 percent at some point in 2016, according to the anti-poverty charity Oxfam. Campaigners are demanding that policymakers take action to address the widening gap between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid