FOCUS

Corruption, poverty and development.

Corruption, from the latest data cost Kenya over 253,000 jobs. Private companies are forced to pay bribes amounting to 69 billion Kenyan shillings ($873,081,343.35 CAD) and that is from data released two weeks ago by a private company. That is huge. Beyond that, over 337 billion Kenyan shillings cannot be properly accounted for, according to the latest Auditor General’s Report. That is been the trend for many years. I will retain current institutions that are there, specifically the Kenyan Corruption Commission, but in addition to that, I will deploy several other mechanisms. There is what I am calling “low on time.” It will create a situation in which public officers are required to execute their mandate within a specific period of time. The more you delay, the more you are creating opportunities for corruption. If we are able to say, as a government, you have to deal with this issue within 24 hours, beyond 24 hours you will have to pay for it. Then, you will not even have time to demand bribes. 

If we catch a few people and punish them, the rest will be scared and we can end corruption that way. Above all, I have requested that anyone who wants to stand in the political party that I will be standing in will sign documents committing themselves to not be involved in any corruption. Anyone who has been involved in corruption before will not be eligible for our nomination. The production of auditors’ reports are at the moment about two to three years behind; we are going to ensure the auditor’s reports are out within at most three to four months after the end of each financial year. Those are to be scrutinized immediately and anyone found to misuse government funds or be involved in corruption will be done away with. The Public Accounts Committee is littered with reports that show so-and-so was involved in corruption, but nothing can be done.

Kenya’s economy is one of the strongest in its region, but its Human Development ranks 145 of 186 with 40 per cent living in poverty. What can be done to develop the economy beyond this point?

If we are able to create a system and confidence that there will no ethnic fighting or political turmoil, as in the past, we will create confidence in investors. We have in Kenya what is called the ‘Economic Export Processing Zones’ – free trade zones. We have many of them and they are given a ten-year tax holiday along with other incentives. But when asked recently as to whether they are fine with that, they said they do not consider these tax holidays as any better. Now, the surprising thing is that Uganda and Tanzania, our two neighbours, do not give much of those financial and economic incentives to foreign companies.

We must ensure there is sufficient supply of electricity. So, there will be a major focus and heavy investment in the electricity supply. Kenya’s supply of electricity is concentrated in very few regions, so we must diversify our energy sources with a particular focus on green energy. That will mean geothermal power, which there is a great potential supply of in Kenya. At the same time, solar energy and wind energy. Once those are installed, they will not only allow a continuous supply of energy, but it will also be cheaper. That means the cost of bills will go down and our factories and business installations will perform better. Kenya has only been able to construct 12,000 km of road in fifty-two years. That is about nineteen kilometres per month and about five hundred metres a day. It’s very slow. The more you delay, the more the cost escalation goes up, the more your cut is. I look forward to constructing as much as 10,000 km in a very short period of time.

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