Police in Kenya have ordered 20 people under investigation for corruption to surrender their passports and firearms. The suspects are linked to the so-called Goldenberg Affair, in which millions of dollars in public funds were used in a fake gold and diamond export scheme in the 1990’s. They include two sons of former president Daniel Arap Moi, and former education minister George Saitoti, who was finance minister under Moi.
Also under investigation – in another scandal – is former energy minister Kiraitu Murungi. He is accused of taking part in the Anglo Leasing scandal, in which senior officials allegedly used a fake company to win huge government contracts. Saitoti and Murungi resigned their posts yesterday. President Mwai Kibaki came to power in 2002 pledging to weed out corruption, which had become endemic during Moi's 24-year rule.
Kwamchesi Makoha is a freelance journalist and political analyst. He told English to Africa reporter Ashenafi Abedje the ongoing anti-corruption campaign demonstrates that “the culture of official impunity is coming to an end in Kenya.” He describes the latest developments as a “completely new thing that worries public officials who have long taken public pressure for granted.”
Makoha says he is not surprised that none of the investigations to date has directly implicated former president Daniel Arap Moi, despite the widespread view that official corruption took root during Moi’s 24-year rule. The analyst says, “Corruption is a game of cunning. And the more cunning you are, the harder you are to catch.” But nowadays, he says, “there are tools to catch even the cunning, and the forces of good are catching up.”
Makotha says calls for fresh elections by some parliamentarians seem to represent the sentiment of an increasing segment of the Kenyan public. He says President Kibaki’s ability to govern effectively has been undermined by his ongoing anti-corruption campaign. He says one reason for this is because Mr. Kibaki has been forced to act against his own allies in government. “That,” he says, “has weakened the foundation of the Kibaki administration.”