Friday, January 23, 2009



By Lucianne Limo

The Centre for Multi-party Democracy (CMD) has warned the country is facing a crisis due to massive corruption, impunity, lack of accountability and poverty.

The political parties lobby group accused Government of tolerating corruption, saying it had lost faith in the Grand Coalition and called on President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga to resolve the crisis.

"We are disappointed that the President’s response to these problems is that every country has its own ‘rogues’ while the PM considers the graft scandals ‘trivial’," said CMD Chairman Larry Gumbe.

He asked the two principals to quit Government if they were unable or unwilling to fight corruption.

"If the current leadership is unwilling to end corruption in Government and finalise the constitutional process, a fresh election should be called within six months as Kenyans cannot afford the numerous scandals," he said.

Numerous scandals

Prof Gumbe regretted that Kenyans have been treated to endless reports of corruption within Government, citing the Sh7.6 billion oil scandal at the Kenya Pipeline Company.

He also cited the maize scandal and Government’s reluctance to raise teachers’ salaries.

"The Government must stop this trend of increasing corruption, impunity, warped priorities, mismanagement and sheer wastage of public resources," he said.

He added: "This way, resources will be released to eradicate poverty, pay public servants better salaries and enable Kenyans generate wealth."

Gumbe was speaking to the Press at La Mada Hotel after a director’s meeting.

CMD also accused the Government of applying double standards by refusing to pay teachers salaries, yet it allegedly plans to settle the Sh7 billion lost through the oil scandal, out of court using taxpayer’s money.

"Money lost in Goldenberg, Anglo Leasing and Grand Regency can meet the cost of teachers’ salaries and other requirements in public education for years. MPs are earning millions of shillings and do not pay taxes, yet the government is saying it cannot pay teachers," he said.

Begging bowl

Gumbe said it was shameful for the Government to visit donor countries with a bowl in hand, begging for money.

"It is unfortunate for the same Government to tolerate officials caught stealing from public coffers. It is also very disappointing to have such officers retained in their positions or transferred," he added.

Recently, the Government has come under increasing criticism for the increasing financial mismanagement in several parastatals.

This comes in the wake of the Government’s reluctance to raise teacher’s salaries leading to a strike.

Recent scandals

Even as the two principals vow to end corruption in Government, numerous financial scams have emerged:

Some poweful individuals have been accused of buying maize from the National Cereals and Produce Board to create an articifial shortage, then sell at exorbitant prices.

A private company, Triton Petroleum, has been accused of taking loans using a contract it had with Kenya Pipeline Company (a parastatal) as a guarantee.