How successive regimes sowed seeds of graft
SEE ALSO :Calls for Jubilee party meetingPurge on the Judiciary Goldenberg still remains one of the biggest scandals in post independent Kenya where the economy lost about Sh79 billion within one year, between 1992 and 1993. Bringing culprits to book were some of the strings World Bank and International Monetary Fund attached in giving funding to the country. “All the time when donors were about to meet in the then called Paris Club meeting, few arrests would be made to show them that the administration was serious about tackling graft,” says Patu Naikumi, a Phycology Department lecturer at Maasai Mara University. When funds were released it was business as usual. Kipng’eno arap Ngeny, who was a confidant of the former president, is the only Cabinet minister who was arraigned in court. “There was widespread corruption but majority of Kenyans were not concerned because there was a lot of money in the economy. The trickle down effect of money obtained through graft by politicians was there,” he says. When former President Kibaki ascended to power he promised to end years of what he called misrule and corruption. There was a purge on the Judiciary to rid it of corrupt magistrates and judges.
SEE ALSO :Trade with China skewed against KenyaThen then Constitutional Affairs Minister Kiraitu Murungi said the purge was necessary to rid the Judiciary of those selling justice to the highest bidder. Kenyans thought the country was on the right path in the fight against corruption. But their hopes were dashed by the infighting in the Narc government between Liberal Democratic Party wing led by the then Roads Minister Raila Odinga and Kibaki’s PNU wing. Anglo Leasing scandal in which billions of shillings were lost in the botched attempt to set up of a police forensic laboratory and buying of military hardware soon broke out. Arrests and prosecution targeted senior people in the previous government. The second term of Kibaki’s government was hit by the maize scandal in which grains from the strategic grain reserves were sold to millers, leading to a severe maize flour shortage. Then Agriculture Minister William Ruto, was blamed for the maize scandal but he was saved from a vote of no confidence in Parliament sponsored by former Ikolomani MP Boni Khalwale. In the ten years of Kibaki’s rule, he showed some level of seriousness in fighting corruption when he appointed John Githongo, an anti-graft czar. But he later fled for his life after exposing the US dollar 770 million Anglo-leasing scandal. Mr Githongo’s revelations became the basis of the Michela Wrong’s 2009 book-It’s Our Turn to Eat, a year after he returned to Kenya from self-exile. President Uhuru Kenyatta’s administration has been riddled with corruption since he was elected into officer in 2013. In fact Githongo describes Uhuru’s government as the worst in terms of corruption. “Corruption in Kenya has deepened and widened since President Uhuru came to power in 2013,” he claims. However, the Jubilee administration has intensified the war on corruption with arrest of high profile government officials. Suspended Youth Affairs Principal Secretary and Kenya Power senior managers are some of the senior government officials facing prosecution over corruption allegations. Despite facing opposition from some Jubilee Party members, Uhuru has directed procurement officers in government to undergo lifestyle audit. Prof George Wajackoya says it is the first time since independence that the country has seen arrests and prosecution of senior State officials linked to corruption scandals. “It’s the first time major arrests and prosecution have been made since independence. All that has been made possible by Kinoti and Haji,” he says. Uhuru is hoping to rid the country of corruption but only time will tell whether he succeeds where others did not.