CORRUPTION IS GETTING WORSE IN AFRICA
By Paul Ndiho
A new global report, Barometer Africa 2019, released jointly by corruption watch groups Transparency International and Afro-Barometer, reveals that corruption is getting worse on the continent.
Winning the fight against corruption continues to be an uphill battle. A majority of citizens surveyed in 35 African countries think that corruption is getting worse and that their government is doing a poor job of fighting the vice, according to a new report on global corruption.
But the situation appears to be looking more positive, as the leaders of some countries take measures to address corruption. The presidents of Nigeria and Kenya, are making clean governance a priority. Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari is waging a battle against corruption, but it remains rampant under his leadership.
Meanwhile, Kenyan President, Uhuru Kenyatta, while speaking to VOA last year, also pledged to stamp out corruption.
“I believe we’re going to win this war. There is tremendous commitment. I believe now we have an institutional framework that will be able to deliver reliable results. The political commitment is there. The will of the people of Kenya is committed to seeing an end to corruption. And I believe that this time we shall succeed in that endeavor.”
Kenyatta is making fighting graft a top priority, but critics say he has been slow to pursue top officials. No high profile convictions have occurred since he took office and some activists are very concerned.
“My message to the world concerning corruption in Kenya, we have a serious accountability issue, and cartels are protected, thieves are protected, and we have to bring that to an end.”
On the streets of Nairobi, many Kenyans have their doubts that any graft investigations will see looted funds recovered or culprits prosecuted.
“Unless we see the big fish, given thorough jail terms, for example, five years ten years, then we will say that the government is working, at the moment that has not happened.”
Kenyan Finance Minister, Henry Rotich, has pleaded not guilty to corruption charges linked to the construction of two dams, a rare example of a sitting minister facing prosecution in the East Africa nation. The country’s top prosecutor ordered Rotich and 27 other officials are arrested and charged over a multi-million dollar contract procurement scandal.
“Given the international nature of these crimes we realize that we cannot fight corruption on our own, and as a strategy to fighting economic crimes, the office of the director of public prosecution has prioritized the tracing of proceeds of crime, benefits, and instruments of crime, asset confiscation, and forfeiture.”
Over 50 Kenyan civil servants were charged in court in May amid an investigation into the theft of nearly $100 million of public funds, in a rare move to hold officials accountable for graft in a nation where it is widespread.
“It is an important step forward, it could be a defining moment, but I would say that it is still too early to say that this is the moment we’ve been waiting for. Of course, opening charges against the person who has been in charge of public finance policy in this country is a significant step.”