Kenya still ranks as one of the most corrupt countries in the world, the latest index shows.
According to the Corruption Perception Index 2011 released by Transparency International Thursday, Kenya ranked 154 out of 182 countries that were surveyed.
Kenya, which shares the same score as President Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe, is among 27 low scoring countries in corruption which include the Somalia (182), North Korea (182), Afghanistan (180), Sudan (177), Equatorial Guinea (172), Burundi (172) and Libya, Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola and Chad all taking position 168.
New Zealand (1), Denmark (2), Finland (2), and Sweden (4) are the least corrupt countries. Only Botswana (32) and Rwanda (49) are in the club of 50 countries of the world that have entrenched the war against corruption in their official ranks.
The survey results, which were released by the Berlin-based anti-corruption watch-dog, show that the publicly stated zero-tolerance policy fight against corruption by the Grand Coalition Government only improved Kenya’s score of 2.1 per cent last year marginally to 2.2 per cent.
It also goes all the way to show that the implementation of the Constitution and the wide ranging reforms being put in place at the moment are yet to change the thieving ways of the past.
TI (Kenya) executive director Samuel Kimeu, who spoke during the simultaneous launch of the report in Nairobi, blamed the lack of political will and the slow pace of reforms in the Judiciary and Kenya Police Service for the poor scores in corruption.
"This is an indication that reforms catalysed by the new Constitution have not yielded dividends in the fight against corruption. The lack of progress in tackling graft can still be attributed to lack of political will and the slow pace of reforms in critical sectors, despite implementation of the Constitution,” he said.
Weak institutions and a long culture of corruption were a running streak among the African countries that were ranked most corrupt and Mr Kimeu challenged the government to change the trend to pave way for economic growth.
"At the moment, in Kenya as in many countries in Africa, the political leadership remains the greatest obstacle to effective anti-corruption initiatives,” he said
The results, which form the TI’s annual ritual of Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), contribute negatively to the level of foreign direct investments (FDI), the credit worthiness of a nation, and the ability turn round an economy. It draws data from 17 sources provided by reputable institutions that measure the overall frequency and size of bribes in both public and private sectors.
“This year we have seen corruption on protestors’ banners be they rich or poor. Whether in a Europe hit by debt crisis or an Arab world starting a new political era, leaders must heed the demands for better government,” said Huguette Labelle, Chair of TI.
Mr Kimeu submitted that the dismal show by Kenya could be attributed to the failure by the government to tackle conclusively major scandals such as Anglo Leasing, Nairobi City Council cemetery, Free Primary Education funds, Ministry of Water scams, and Kazi kwa Vijana money.
TI-Kenya urged the government to ensure the scandals which run into billions of money have been speedily investigated and those involved, regardless of the status, be prosecuted and if found guilty be required to pay back the funds.
“The frequency with which resources for projects aimed at lifting the majority of Kenyans from poverty are being misused or stolen casts doubt on the ability of the state to protect the public interest and achieve its economic development plans,” he said.