Among 176 countries and territories of the world, Kenya has been ranked among the most corrupt nations according to corruption perception Index 2016 released by Transparency International
Corruption has been a recurring problem in all parts of the world and with the emergence and rise of the number of populist politicians in many countries, it will be very hard to remove the connection between corruption and inequality.
José Ugaz, Chair of Transparency International, said:
“In too many countries, people are deprived of their most basic needs and go to bed hungry every night because of corruption, while the powerful and corrupt enjoy lavish lifestyles with impunity.”
The track record of populist leaders in tackling this problem of corruption is dismal; they use the corruption-inequality message as propaganda to drum up support for themselves just to be elected into office but have no intention of tackling the problem seriously.
The government and its decentralized units — including the police, military, public roads and transit authorities, primary schools and healthcare system — that use public funds and provide services based on the motivation to improve citizens’ lives rather than to make a profit, are a major field for the corrupt, thereby making the public sector of the economy to suffer.
Despite Kenya’s adoption of a few anti-corruption measures, including passing a law on the right to information which has a long way to go, President Uhuru Kenyatta has expressed frustration that all his anti-corruption efforts were not yielding much. He may need new strategies as Kenyan citizens go to the polls in 2017.
President Uhuru’s administration appears to be the only administration since Kenya independence to have come up with a strong fight against corruption in the country. He has provided resources that institutions had asked for to be able to deal with corruption, but no fruits were forthcoming.
In the corruption perception index in 2012, Kenya’s score on corruption on a scale of 1 – 100 was 27. The score was maintained in 2013 but in 2014 the corruption perception index score reduced drastically to 25 when the nation was facing turns of corrupt practices and this was maintained at 25 even in 2015.
In 2016, the corruption perception index 2016 increased to 26 as President Uhuru started putting plans into action to curb corruption in the country.
The rampant corruption in Ghana led citizens to voice their frustrations through the election, resulting in an incumbent president losing for the first time in Ghana’s history.
Other African countries that have faced the same are Nigeria whose incumbent President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan was voted out of power in 2015 with the citizens swinging into action as corruption embedded the system.
Gambia also faced the same recently when the Incumbent President Jammeh was voted out of power.
What Needs To Happen
African leaders that come to office on an “anti-corruption ticket” will need to live up to their pledges to deliver corruption-free services to their citizens. They must implement their commitments to the principles of governance, democracy, and human rights.
This includes strengthening the institutions that hold their governments accountable, as well as the electoral systems that allow citizens to either re-elect them or freely choose an alternative.