As we all know this blog is fully for Kenyans or any other person who has been affected directly or indirectly by corruption in Kenya. While a certain level of this vice goes on in every country, corruption in Kenya is a particularly large problem. The average urban Kenyan has to pay 16 bribes a month to get his regular affairs arranged.
Tribalism, as Key Factor in Corruption.
One factor that fuels the problems of corruption in Kenya is tribal loyalty. People in Kenya are first and foremost loyal to their families, then their clan (extended family), then their tribe. Member of the same clan or tribe often ‘help’ each other, even when it involves illegal corruption. Tribal influences have waned over the years, but are still strong.
Corruption and Kenya’s Presidents
Unfortunately, corruption played a role with all 3 Kenyan presidents up to now.
• Jomo Kenyatta
He was the first president of Kenya after independence in 1963. During colonialism, the European colonizers had stolen fertile lands from, among others, the Kalenjin tribe. After the independence (in 1963), Kenyatta did not return those lands to the former owners, but handed it over to members of his own clan and tribe (the Kikuyu). Kenyatta himself became one of the largest private land owners in the country.
• Daniel arap Moi
During Daniel arap Moi’s presidency – Kenya’s second president – corruption was widespread and involved Moi himself on many occasions. In the 1990s, he was part of the Goldenberg scandal, where smuggled gold was exported out of Kenya in exchange for high government subsidies. It’s one of the largest corruption scandals to date in Kenya, which involved nearly the entire Moi government. Many officials from the Central Bank and more than 20 senior judges have also been implicated. As of 2008, only a small handful of people been charged with a criminal offense, which some see as an example of the continuing problem of corruption and favoritism.
• Mwai Kibaki
The third president, Mwai Kibaki, was elected in 2002 mainly on the promise to end corruption in Kenya once and for all. Admittedly, there have been quite some improvements in the country (among them press freedom, return of elections and introduction of free and compulsory primary education for all) but corruption had remained a big issue. To start with, his administration consists largely of Kikuyu, while this tribe is only 22 percent of the Kenyan population. From 2003 to 2006, Kibaki’s cabinet spent 14 million dollars on new Mercedes cars for themselves. In late 2008, several members of Kibaki’s parliament were found to have taken large “allowances”, which were not legally part of their official compensation.