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How Kenya can defeat corruption, the China way

08 March 2016, 22:45

Nairobi - The Kenyan government should borrow lessons from China's anti-corruption drive to help tame a scourge that threatens socio-economic progress in the east African nation, a renowned scholar said on Sunday.

Professor Peter Kagwanja, CEO of the Nairobi-based Pan African think-tank, Africa Policy Institute said in a commentary published in a local daily that Beijing's fierce onslaught on graft is an inspiration to developing countries grappling with the vice.

While admitting that corruption undermined Kenya's future, Kagwanja opined that senior government officials should emulate China's robust efforts to slay the dragon.

"Corruption is an existential threat to President Uhuru Kenyatta's government but his pilgrimage in search of a working anti-corruption model should take him to China," Kagwanja said.

The East African nation has lately been on the global spotlight following news of financial scams in the public service.

President Kenyatta in his recent state visit to Israel admitted corruption was widespread in both the public and private sectors.

To slay the dragon of graft effectively, Kagwanja suggested that Kenyatta should emulate the unwavering resolve by Chinese leaders to eradicate this vice.

"Chinese President, Xi Jinping and his predecessor, Hu Jintao declared that corruption is a threat to the survival of the ruling Chinese communist party. This will most likely ring bell to Kenyatta in view of 2017 general elections," said Kagwanja.

As steadfast bilateral allies, China and Kenya could share best practices on how to eradicate sleaze in the public sector.

Kagwanja noted that President Xi Jinping's reform credentials and anti-graft crusade offer vital lessons to Kenya and other African countries yearning to improve governance and accountability.

"Upon taking office in November 2012, Xi vowed to crack down on both "Tigers and Flies", the high level officials and low level civil servants involved in graft," Kagwanja remarked, adding that a similar strategy should be applied in Kenya

The Chinese government has revamped regulatory and institutional frameworks to strengthen the war against corruption.

Kagwanja noted that President Xi Jinping has given new powers to institutions charged with fighting graft.

"The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) under Secretary Wang Qishan working with corresponding military and judicial bodies is spearheading Xi's war on graft," said Kagwanja.

He noted that President Xi Jinping's uncompromising stance against graft has recorded significant victories over a short period.

"As of last year, Xi's anti-graft campaign netted over one hundred officials while more than 100,000 ordinary people have been jailed for involvement in corruption," Kagwanja said.

Like his Chinese counterpart, President Kenyatta should be prepared to make a huge political sacrifice in order to win the war against corruption.

Kagwanja emphasized that a ruthless onslaught against graft will secure Kenyatta an enviable legacy.

"Uhuru Kenyatta's destiny and legacy are tied to effectively fighting corruption," said Kagwanja adding that China offers enduring lessons on how to fight crony capitalism and other sleaze in the public sector.

- Xinhua

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