I have a funny joke. In fact I actually have quite a few! And they are all taken from the last couple of weeks Kenyan news. It all started with the voting in of the new constitution in August; now Kenya politics has started to get very amusing.
• Today there’s the story about the water minister who is accused of tribalism, apparently having spent the country’s almost entire development budget in the tiny region of Kenya that she came from (OK, it's dry there in Ukambani, but still...).
• Then there was the one about the managing director of the Kenya Bureau of Standards and the chairman of the National Standards Council, who have both been interviewed regarding the illegal importation of 3,000 vehicles that are more than 8 years old.
• There’s the joke about the cemetery land, where SHs 283 million was (over)paid by the government for land that is deemed to be useless for graves. First the Nairobi mayor was arrested – then he and his assistant quit their posts.
• Oh, and there’s another one about the foreign affairs minister who was accused of financial improprieties in the sale and purchase of 5 embassy buildings abroad. Wetangula and his assistant have now stepped aside too pending KACC investigations.
• Next on the block are reportedly going to be those ministers who have misappropriated funds meant for the resettlement of Internally Displaced Persons (displaced from their homes as a result of the 2007 election). Can’t wait for that one!
• As I said in a previous post, William Ruto was suspended two weeks ago regarding a 2004 illegal sale of Kenya forest land. He’s not idle though, instead he’s apparently already formed a new political party to be unveiled at Christmas. 40 ministers are already on board. Good luck to him on that one.
• I can go on; There’s the tatty desk in Embakasi Constituency that was apparently bought for a school for 30,000 shillings (£250). A recent Nairobi Social Audit report reveals that CDF funds, or Constituency Development Funds all over Nairobi have been ‘redirected’ or failed to deliver. Shs53.6 million has gone or been unaccounted over the past 2 years. Many development projects, once started now stand incomplete or stalled.
• The very latest joke/scandal concerns a fraudulent iron ore exploration/mining deal granted after forged papers were submitted. (even I am getting bogged down now!).
Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission chairman Dr Patrick Lumumba, who is driving most of these investigations, is now my new hero. He is also reopening old cases such as Goldenberg and Anglo Leasing. I hope he doesn’t have a price on his head at the moment. He's actually asking guilty ministers who have squirrelled their ill gotten gains into foreign bank accounts, to return up to one third in order to get amnesty in their pending graft cases.
'Fighting corruption is a task that should be done, will be done and must be done. If not done, then we are done.' Don't you just love him already?
‘We are currently investigating no less than four cabinet ministers and no less than 45 heads of parastatals.’ He said.
With so many ministers being suspended due to being under investigation at the moment, there’s a chance that Kenya’s coalition cabinet might end up a reasonable size! In fact, with the new constitution disallowing anyone implicated in corruption from being a member of Parliament, who will be left to run in the 2012 election?
All this and Ocampo is due in town before Christmas to arrest four to six personalities accused of masterminding post-election violence that took place in early 2008. What a shocker.
For an interesting overview of how Kenya (from Western eyes) stands today economically and strategically, click on the link; http://www.economist.com/node/17373983 and read Friday’s UK Economist article entitled 'Can Kenya make its new deal work?'. The piece is pretty positive all in all ..which makes a change.