Friday, November 12, 2010

Man of the moment

Two-thirds of Kenyans approve the anti-graft agency’s renewed zeal in targeting top level corruption in government.

The new approach has endeared the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission to the public, with its approval rating rising almost six-fold from 12 per cent in December last year to 69 per cent last month. “In many accounts, the new leadership of the KACC has been lauded locally and internationally for the attempts to deliver on its mandate. Placing attention on the ‘big fish’ has been doubtlessly critical to the recorded popularity,” says the Synovate Pan Africa opinion poll conducted between October 24 and 30.

Anti-corruption agency director PLO Lumumba recently said they were investigating four Cabinet ministers and no less than 45 heads of parastatals. He made the announcement a few days after his investigators picked Nairobi mayor Geophrey Majiwa from his house. The mayor was later charged in court over the Sh283 million graves land scandal. He has since stepped aside as mayor. The detectives have also quizzed Industrialisation minister Henry Kosgey over 3,000 cars impounded at Mombasa port by the Kenya Revenue Authority. The minister is accused of irregularly clearing the cars imported by second-hand vehicle dealers. The commission is also reportedly investigating alleged corruption in the Water ministry, which has sparked accusation and counter-accusations between minister Charity Ngilu and his former assistant Mwangi Kiunjuri.

But the number of Kenyans confident of a better economic future, following the enactment of the new Constitution, has declined from 77 per cent in August to 54 per cent, with those who feel their economic conditions are likely to be worse in the next 12 months rising from 10 per cent in August to 21 per cent in October. “Most probably, Kenyans are now more realistic than euphoric on their economic expectations,” said Synovate managing director George Waititu. Finance minister Uhuru Kenyatta has said the cost of effecting the new laws could hit the Sh17 billion mark by 2012. Ministries and government departments may have to make “severe cutbacks” to make room in the Budget, he said, adding that Treasury had earmarked Sh5 billion for the reforms in the fiscal year 2011/12. The amount exceeds the Sh3.4 billion already approved by the Cabinet for the fiscal year 2010/11.

On the performance of institutions and senior public officials, the media takes the top prize with a rating of 83 per cent, followed by President Kibaki (81 per cent), Speaker Kenneth Marende (78 per cent), Prime Minister Raila Odinga (77 per cent), KACC (69 per cent) and Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka (63 per cent).

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