Barack Obama urges Kenya to fight corruption in government

Sunday July 26 2015

US President Barack Obama speaks at the

US President Barack Obama speaks at the Safaricom Indoor Arena in Nairobi on July 26, 2015. AFP PHOTO | SAUL LOEB 

By NGARE KARIUKI
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US President Barack Obama has put the Kenyan government to task over laxity in fighting corruption at top government offices.

He called on all Kenyans to take up the responsibility of fighting corruption, but insisted that little progress would be made unless the cancer is “fought from the top”.

“If someone in public office is taking a cut of what they don't deserve, that's taking away from those that deserve their fair share.

"The folks at the top who are taking from ordinary people need to be prosecuted,” he said.

Mr Obama said while corruption was a universal problem and not unique to Kenya, there seemed to be a tolerance that needs to be broken.

“The fact is, too often, corruption is tolerated here in Kenya because people think that is how things have always been done. It is time to change habits and decisively break that cycle," he said.

Speaking on Sunday at the Safaricom Indoor Arena at the Kasarani Stadium, the US president encouraged young people to be part of the change towards a less corrupt Kenya.

“The thing about democracy is that someone is always complaining about something. When you do something for one person, the other person is not happy and they keep asking, 'What have you done for me lately?' Such civic participation is essential in removing the cancer of corruption,” he said.

He also commended the role played by civil society groups in putting leaders on their toes and ensuring that they run their affairs with integrity.