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Graft to blame for high cost of living

By | May 4th 2011 at 00:00:00 GMT +0300

By Linah Benyawa and Sandra Chao

Mombasa County

Corruption has greatly contributed to the soaring food and fuel prices, Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission (KACC) boss has said.

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Dr Patrick Lumumba said the rising prices of commodities in the country and other African countries were as a result of corruption.

"The world’s economic trends and the dangers the African continent is facing in terms of high cost of living has been contributed by corruption," Lumumba said.

Economic degradation

He was speaking in Mombasa while opening a seven-day international anti-corruption conference. Representatives from about 17 African countries attended the conference.

Lumumba said politicians and civil servants engage in economic degradation of the continent.

"I want to urge our governments to declare corruption a disaster. We want to ensure corruption does not stand in the way of development in Africa," he said. At the same time, different heads of anti-corruption bodies in Africa said they would form an African Anti-Corruption Commission to spearhead a continental fight against corruption.

"We all have to respect the law. Those involved in corruption should stop so that we can forge ahead in developing our continent," said Leonidas Habonimana, a representative from Burundi.

He said a meeting will be held in Burundi from June 19 to 23 with the aim of forming a body to combat corruption in the region.

Still poor

Among those who attended the conference were Mwetaminwa Mwendambali from DR Congo, David Bandawe from Malawi, Moulana Johnny Saverio from South Sudan. Raphael Baku from Uganda and Edward Hoseah from Tanzania.

Lumumba said there was need for countries to renew their efforts in fighting corruption. "The countries that are well-endowed with minerals are still poor. This is because corruption has placed us behind in development. It is our responsibility to fight this vice," said Lumumba. "We must, therefore, come out of our comfort zones and do things that need to be done. You must speak out and stand for the truth even at the risk of losing your life," Lumumba said.

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