Tuesday, September 23, 2008



Kenya Times
Nairobi, Kenya
September 23, 2008
Story by: Emmanuel Onyango

THE performance of the coalition government over the last six months earned poor ratings on economic development, the war against corwruption and availability of jobs, a new survey says. Levels of corruption increased from 67 per cent to 76 per cent and more disturbing is the issue of tribalism and ethnicity in employment. The survey paints a gloomy future for the country, with a majority of Kenyans plunging into poverty at an alarming rate.

According to the scorecard, Kenyans consider the coalition government to be a "necessary evil" cobbled together to restore normalcy in governance, but is not necessarily pro-poor. According to respondents interviewed, the Grand Coalition is bloated and its maintenance is too costly on the burdened taxpayers.The respondents also feel that lack of opposition places the citizens’ interest at the mercy of politicians.

Kenyans, the survey revealed, are pessimistic that not much difference would be achieved by the grand coalition in terms of improving the living standards of citizens. "The Grand Coalition is seen as an option to ending the post-election violence but not a team that can work together for the good of the masses," the scorecard states."People noted that the government had not done enough to ensure equitable distribution of national resources. Some said foreigners have been given preferential treatment especially in land allocation at the expense of locals," the scorecard adds.

The 5,000 Kenyans sampled in the scorecard reckon that the hyped 7 per cent economic development in 2007 has yet to be realised by the average citizens. Further, the government is accused of sitting on the sidelines as the state of roads deteriorates prices of essential goods skyrocket and unemployment soars. Concern was also raised over the bloated government saying it would eat up whatever economic gains expected this year. The government was also indicted for being elitist, with 89 per cent of respondents saying that participation of the public in publicly funded development initiatives and decision-making remained low.

The police force was criticised over delayed service delivery, bribery, unlawful arrests and harassment. The prevalence of corruption in police stations increased from 51 per cent last year to 60 per cent in 2008, with bribery emerging as the most common for of corruption encountered. Complaints about delays in service delivery at police stations shot up by 45 per cent while those about corruption increased by 9 per cent. Those complaining about unlawful arrests and harassment rose from 5 to 15 per cent.The survey was conducted in 21 districts in the all eight provinces. This is the second scorecard on government performance. The first one was released in the run up to last year’s election.

Scorecard 2 was launched yesterday by Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) vice chairman Hassan Omar at a Nairobi hotel. The survey was conducted by Community Aid International (CAI). In the scorecard, Kenyans are pessimistic about the government’s resolve to fight corruption, with the magnitude of corruption increasing from 67 per cent to 76 per cent.Perceptions on prevalence of tribalism have almost doubled to 75 per cent compared to last year. Most respondents said ethnic affiliation rated highly at 67 per cent in the provision of employment regardless of academic qualification.

The perception of tribalism in employment and public offices was highest in Rift Valley Province, while Central Province had the highest number of respondents who felt tribalism in employment and public offices had decreased. Half of those interviewed or 41 per cent were of the opinion that national identity cards have been used to discriminate against people from certain ethnic communities, thereby contributing greatly to the promotion of tribalism.Respondents were equally dissatisfied with the pace at which the judiciary handles court cases. They also doubted the effectiveness of the judiciary to uphold human rights and were sharply divided on the role of Chief Justice Evan Gicheru in the post-election violence. Some blame him for swearing-in President Kibaki.

One respondent in Machakos said : "The swearing-in was done so fast as if it was a private thing, it left people with a lot of doubts. The CJ was not mandated to do it after all the rigging, but anyway they had to do it because unrest had already began in the country".When asked about the performance of the Electoral Commission in the 2007 presidential election 67 per cent of the respondents rated it poorly with 51 per cent saying they totally distrust ECK to perform its duty with integrity in the future."Most participants said that the election results were flawed citing delays in the release of presidential results in some areas and conflicting figures being released by the ECK against the figures documented at the grassroots level" says the scorecard."

The announcement provoked and added to existing feelings of unfairness and discrimination perpetrated by the previous governments."Respondents also criticised ECK chairman Samuel Kivuitu for announcing a presidential winner in the disputed election and attributed the violence that erupted to his conduct. A respondent said: "What the ECK did in December took us years back. Kenyans have lost confidence in the ECK and secondly the act eroded the sense of democracy in the country."

A rare applause was, however, given to the government for making efforts to increase women’s participation in public affairs. Criticism was, however, levelled against the state for not ensuring gender equality in land matters. The respondents cited failure by the government to enact laws to safeguard women’s right to inheritance.Praise was given to the way the government provided basic services to IDPs. Pessimism, however, reigns over the government’s ability to provide long-lasting solution to the security issues that IDPs are likely to face once they return to their homes.

While launching the scorecard, KNCHR vice-chairman Hassan Omar fingered the Ministry of Internal Security and Provincial Administration as the greatest stumbling block in human rights reforms. "The greatest stumbling block to reforms in the country is the police and provincial administration. They are excessive, arbitrary and a relic of the colonial system", said Omar.Others present at the launch were Joseph Kwaka and Flora Okoth of Community Aid International and Ceasar Kwaka of Strategic PR.