Kenya has once again emerged among the most corrupt nations in East Africa and the Great Lakes Region according to the Corruption Perception Index 2009 released by Transparency International.
The report puts Kenya at position 146 against 180, a slight improvement from 147 in last year’s index. Historical bad governance, corruption and impunity have led us to this tipping point at which if we do not get our act right then we will degenerate into one of the failed states that surround us. The responsibility for improvement in governance, transparency and accountability lies squarely with the government of the day.
The draft constitution which was launched recently had some positive elements that would reduce corruption and abuse of power that existed in Kenya unlike the old one (constitution) did not. For example the draft constitution subjects presidential powers to account to Parliament and the Judiciary. It also attempts to make civil service more independent from political influence.
Some African countries had performed well in this year’s Corruption Perception Index while Kenya still struggled to break from the corruption yoke. Kenya’s economy was put at risk with the high levels of corruption.
Some countries like Botswana, Namibia and South Africa continue to do well while we continue basking in corruption. If we reduce corruption in this country we will become a little more attractive to international investment than we are now. The tourism sector will become more vibrant than it is now so if we want any economic development in this country then we must clean up our act. There were places in Kenya that could not be taxed because of their poverty levels adding that the many levels of governance would facilitate corruption.
With increasing layers of governance you get increasing layers of corruption and non accountability risks. The lower the layer of governance we go (be it at county or at regional level as proposed by the draft constitution) then the tighter the systems of accountability need to be. The draft constitution stipulates that the Acts of Parliament will form frameworks within which the lower levels of governance account. I hope that they will be tight enough to ensure accountability.