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Kenya fails to impress in new global corruption ranking

Thursday January 23 2020

corruption

Civil society activists in a procession in Nairobi in 2015. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

VALENTINE OBARA
By VALENTINE OBARA
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Kenya has failed to impress in the latest global corruption ranking despite vigorous efforts by the Jubilee government to fight corruption.

Weak regulation of political funding has been identified as an impediment in the fight against corruption in the country.

CORRUPTION INDEX

The Corruption Perception Index (CPI), which was released by Transparency International on Thursday, shows that Kenya has only moved one step, from a score of 27 points out of 100 in 2018 to 28 in 2019. A score of zero means highly corrupt and 100 is “very clean”.

According to the report, this score is below the global average of 43 and Sub-Saharan average of 32.

“Since 2012, Kenya has scored between 25 and 28, out of 100, having recorded a score of 27 in 2018, depicting slow progress in the fight against corruption. In the rankings, the country is listed at position 137 out of 180 countries and territories assessed,” it states.

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Since he was sworn in for a second term in office in 2017, President Uhuru Kenyatta vowed to leave a legacy of a successful war against corruption.

His efforts received a boost after his famous ''handshake'' with ODM leader Raila Odinga in 2018.

However, TI says that convictions and recovery of assets will prove success of the efforts to fight graft.

STOLEN RESOURCES

“Following the spate of high profile arrests and arraignments in court, anti-corruption agencies should therefore bolster investigations and prosecutions that will lead to convictions and the recovery of stolen public resources,” says the report.

“The recent directive by the President on conflict of interest among public officials has the potential to escalate the success in the fight against graft if followed through,” it adds.

The agency also called on the government to put effective measures in place to regulate political funding if at all the war on corruption is to bear fruit.

Delia Ferreira Rubio, who chairs the international organisation, says their analysis proved that there is an inextricable link between politics, money and corruption that needs to be broken with strong regulations.

She says it has been proved that countries that are least corrupt, according to the CPI scores, are also found to have strong regulations regarding political campaign donations.

Even though Kenya has an Election Campaign Financing Act of 2013, its implementation by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), which is expected to monitor and regulate campaign financing, has remained a challenge.

POLITICAL CAMPAIGNS

Political campaigns in Kenya are often a show of financial might between contestants, from the topmost presidential campaigns to the Member of County Assembly position at the grassroots.

“Governments must urgently address the corrupting role of big money in political party financing and the undue influence it exerts on our political systems,” she said.

TI proposed a review and amendment of the Election Campaign Financing Act, 2013 to give the IEBC powers to develop regulations on money spent in campaigns.

CAPACITY BUILDING

It further called for capacity building at the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, strengthening international cooperation to enhance asset recovery and enforcement of Chapter 6 of the Constitution on integrity to the letter.

From the CPI, in the East African region, Rwanda is ranked highest garnering 53 points followed by Tanzania with 37.

Uganda and Kenya tied with 28 points, Burundi has 19 and South Sudan 12 points.

Elsewhere in Africa, Ethiopia scored 37, Zambia 34, Nigeria 26, Zimbabwe 24 and the Democratic Republic of Congo 18.

Denmark and New Zealand top the CPI 2019 with scores of 87.

Somalia, South Sudan and Syria are at the bottom with scores of 9, 12 and 13 respectively.