All is not lost in the war against graft

Thursday February 11 2016

Kenya Revenue Authority Commissioner-General John Njiraini announces measures to rid Mombasa port of corruption at Harambee House, Nairobi, on February 9, 2016. PHOTO | ROBERT NGUGI  | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Kenya Revenue Authority Commissioner-General John Njiraini announces measures to rid Mombasa port of corruption at Harambee House, Nairobi, on February 9, 2016. PHOTO | ROBERT NGUGI | NATION MEDIA GROUP NATION MEDIA GROUP

Kenya ranks position 139 out of 169 in the recently published Global Corruption Perception Index (CPI 2015) by Transparency International.

This marks a slight improvement from position 145 out of 175 countries globally in CPI 2014 even though the score remains at 25 per cent in the two surveys.

This score is however low compared to Africa’s best performing country, Botswana with  69 per cent in position 28 or even the best in the East African region, Rwanda with 54 per cent in position 44.

As a ray of the first hope, it be should be factored that the CPI measures perceptions and not actual corruption.

Further, the 2015 CPI comes in the wake of national reawakening with anti-corruption as a national agenda.

In-spite-of the above picture painted by the findings, the evidently numerous efforts by Kenya’s leadership, anti-corruption agencies, stakeholders and the citizens to profile corruption as an urgent issue that needs to be tackled should be hailed.

The prioritisation of the challenge with respect to addressing corruption can be segmented in 6 critical areas: institutional strengthening; policy and public sector reforms; financial management; public procurement systems; devolution and good governance and democracy.

Here is why we should celebrate that the anti-corruption efforts are bearing fruit. Below is a summary of actions so far. 

Institutional Strengthening: Under the 2010 Constitution, the country has made great strides in establishing and strengthening governance institutions that are mandated with fighting corruption with the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) as the primary agency. It is complemented by a host of other government agencies in this task.

Subsequently, we have witnessed fervour to enhanced monitoring, investigation, prosecution, restitution and reduction of corruption opportunities and incentives.


Policy and Public Sector Reforms: The country has equally made tremendous effort in putting in place a clear institutional framework for public sector reforms including establishment of sectoral reform committees, defining core functions of each state department, issuing guidelines on rationalisation of ministries and staff right sizing.

There have also been the institutionalisation of performance appraisal criteria and the code of regulations to address work ethic issues.

Financial Management: Effective management of public finances by the national and county governments has been provided for under the Public Finance Management Act of 2012 (PFM). The PFM Act has created oversight responsibilities and addressed problems of inadequate planning and project prioritisation that are usually recipe for corruption.

Public Procurement Systems: In response to the many corruption-related complaints emanating from the procurement sector, the procurement systems have been strengthened under the Public Procurement Oversight Authority Act and the Public Procurement and Disposal Act 2005 as well as other legislation and administrative measures. 

Moreover, the introduction of the Integrated Financial Management Information System (IFMIs) has facilitated efficient and effective e-procurement. 

Decentralisation: Countries such as the Philippines, Cambodia, and Macedonia have adopted the decentralised system of governance as a way of reducing opportunities for corruption, devolved decision-making power and enhanced service delivery to local community and organisations.

There is light at the end of the tunnel in Kenya`s devolution system.

Good governance and democracy: Good governance and democracy is the laboratory where integrity and transparency can be ripened.

In line with the governance principles enshrined in Article 10 of the Constitution, we have also done well in securing basic welfare and democratic rights: equity, non-discrimination, public participation and integrity.