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Govt vows to stamp out corruption amid West pressure

17 April 2014, 08:10

Nairobi - The government pledged on Wednesday not to relent on the war on corruption, vowing to use all means to repel the vice which has been blamed for retarding development, as Western powers mount pressure on the country to take serious moves.

Chief of Staff and Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua told 18 foreign envoys who recently criticized the government's reluctance to stamp out graft that the current administration was committed to fighting corruption through all available means.

"Current administration is committed to fighting corruption and this can be attested by commitment to empower institutions that work to check this vice. The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission has all the goodwill especially political from the executive to do the work they were set up to do," said Kinyua.

He said the government had embarked to preventive approach and was seeking to behavior change. This, he said, will be achieved through the education outreaches that Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission was engaged in, introduction of these issues in school curriculum and working with religious organizations.

The meeting was called by the foreign affairs ministry to get clarification from the envoys on the op-ed which was placed in the local media last Sunday and to explain to them what the government was doing in the fight against corruption.

"We felt that whereas you have issues to address to the government on corruption, we are not sure the press was the best place and the first port of call. The doors of the ministry are wide open," Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Karanja Kibicho said.

He said the current administration was open to dialogue and the ministry of foreign affairs and International Trade was ready and willing to facilitate any meeting with government officially.

The 18 diplomats from the United States, the European Union, Japan, Australia and Canada issued an opinion in the local media asking the government to not to relent on its war against corruption.

To effectively fight corruption in the long-term, the envoys suggested strengthened governance and transparency, strong democratic institutions, enforcement of anti-corruption laws, resolving past corruption cases, assets recovery, and creating a conducive and predictable business environment.

They also insist that the government should fight "the impunity for corruption irrespective of the social and political status of someone suspected of having committed a crime."

"At the moment when Kenya is restructuring government through devolution process, attracting investment, expanding trade, creating jobs and fighting terrorism, corruption is holding the country back. It is an unwelcome companion, and has no place in Kenya's bright future," the envoys said in their op-ed.

But on Wednesday, the envoys said they were coming out to identify with the Kenya government efforts and were in no way out to criticize the government.

"The op-ed was an open letter to Kenyan people on the menace of corruption and to support the government and the president for the effort being put in place to tackle this challenge," said Spanish Ambassador to Kenya Javier Herrera Gaecia-Centurri.

U.S. Ambassador to Kenya, Robert Godec said his government was fully supportive of Kenya Vision 2030, Millennium Development Goals among other projects and cannot possibly do anything on the contrary behind the scenes.

British High Commissioner to Kenya Christian Turner said they were supportive of the government and the op-ed was not in any way to criticize the government but on the contrary to shove support specifically to the effort by the president and his deputy in fighting corruption.

He noted that the Kenya had made a lot of progress in comparison to the 80s and the 90s and although there are still issues from the past that remain unresolved, it is good that there is discussion on corruption in all sectors of the society including the media and as envoys and friends of Kenya, they had decided, in good faith, to add their voice.

 - Xinhua

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