Kenya promises to start naming and shaming corrupt public servants

Quartz africa
Quartz africa

The Kenyan government has pledged to tackle government corruption by setting up a whistleblower platform and publicizing all claims of public graft.

Kenya’s rampant government corruption is believed to cost the country as many as 250,000 jobs a year, or according to estimates, $1 billion annually. Late last month, a government audit concluded that only 1.2% of government spending for the year between 2013-2014 was properly accounted for.

The latest pledges are part of an agreement with the US detailed in a document published on the White House’s website last week. The deal also includes an electronic procurement system to help track government spending. During his visit to Kenya last month, US president Barack Obama called on the country to hold “visible trials” for corrupt officials.

But in a country where government graft has persisted for decades, it is often difficult to discern between political vengeance and genuine government accountability. In March, when president Uhuru Kenyatta published his so-called “list of shame” of 175 officials implicated in various graft cases, critics claimed the move was part of a vendetta.

Accusations continue to fly. Anti-corruption activists have been questioning the lack of a public bidding process for a $13.5-billion railway now being built by a Chinese firm between Nairobi and the port city of Mombasa. The Kenyatta administration has also been accused of being particularly corrupt. Former anti-corruption czar and whistleblower John Githongo told the AFP: “This is the most rapacious administration that we have ever had.”

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