The head diplomatic envoys from seven nations, including the U.S. and the
U.K., put out a collective statement Thursday urging Kenya's government
to make serious its fight on corruption. Kenya's most famous corruption whistleblower says
that the public has loss all confidence in the nation's leadership to
carry out the fight.
The joint statement said that the foreign
envoys to Kenya were "encouraged" by the renewal of public debate on
the corruption issue. Public anger flared up after President Mwai
Kibaki re-appointed the nation's anti-corruption czar, Aaron Ringera,
who is viewed by critics as negligent in his post.
nation's parliament is expected to decide on Tuesday to rescind the
presidential appointment on the grounds that it was not consulted as
required by law, a possible clash between the two branches of
government which has the potential to throw the country into a
miniature constitutional crisis.
The statement from the envoys
pledged to stand with the Kenyan people insisting on public reforms. It
expressed deep concern in the lack of transparency shown by the
government in the re-appointment process.
John Githongo, a
former anti-corruption government official who famously fled into exile
four years ago amid threats on his life, but returned home earlier this
year, tells VOA that the specific battle over the Ringera
re-appointment is merely the manifestation of a larger underlying
"I think that there is a lot of focus on an individual
when in actual fact what we are actually seeing is a catastrophic loss
of public confidence in an entire institution, number 1, and number 2,
in the government's commitment in the fight against corruption," he
said. "And the unhappiness in regards to Ringera is merely an
expression of those wider and deeper measures of discontent."
Githongo blames the political leadership for lacking any will to carry out the fight against corruption.
need to have the legal infrastructure, which we have, you need to have
the institution, which we have, but you also need to have the
leadership - which has been lacking. And you also need to have public
confidence, which has been, as I have said, catastrophically lacking
with regards to this particular institution," he said.
left, says Githongo, is an "orphaned" anti-corruption commission, which
has neither the support of the executive to carry out its mandate nor
the confidence of the public needed to bolster its powers.
former journalist turned anti-corruption crusader is known for
revealing high-level names behind the Anglo-Leasing scandal, in which a
$600 million public contract was given to a company which did not
He held a governance watchdog position in President
Mwai Kibaki's government in 2003, but resigned his position two years
later. Mr. Kibaki had run his campaign largely on a platform of ending
Githongo is the protagonist in a scathing new book
by a British author that received much attention in Kenya for the
alleged corruption within high-levels of government detailed within its
pages. Most bookstores in Nairobi fearfully refuse to sell the book.
joint statement by the foreign envoys praised the recent leadership
overhaul in Kenya's police force, saying that it could be a first step
the full reform of the institution, which is consistently ranked as one
of the nation's most corrupt.