6 times President Kenyatta has talked tough on corruption since taking office — but little has been done

Kenyans have cast doubt over his ability to deal with those implicated in the multi-billion graft scandals

The recent Sh9 billion National Youth Service (NYS) heist and the fraudulent payments for maize supplied to the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) have yet again threatened to undermine the Jubilee administration's four pillars of growth that Mr Kenyatta hopes will shape his legacy.

The scandals have led to widespread public discontent with critics questioning whether agencies mandated to deal with corruption have failed.

The fraud schemes have exploded months after similar unresolved scandals occurred such as the Sh1.9 billion NYS scandal that rocked his first term and the infamous Sh5 billion Afya House heist.

President Kenyatta has on his part vowed to fight graft in his administration though his tough talk has seen few, if any, individuals made to pay for their sins.

It is a vice the country has failed to tackle since the post-independence era of Mzee Jomo Kenyatta.

The latest corruption index by Transparency Kenya (TI) ranks Kenya at position 143 out of 180 in the globally.

Business Insider SSA takes a look at the instances where Mr Kenyatta talked tough on corruption since he took office in 2013 even as Kenyans cast doubt over his ability to deal with those implicated in the scandals:

2013: Uhuru launches anti-corruption website

Mr Kenyatta launched a website allowing users to report corruption directly to the head of state, in a bid to improve the country's reputation.

State House spokesman Manoah Esipisu said the move demonstrated the President's commitment to tackle rampant graft in the country.

2014: Warns government officials over corruption

The head of state said the fight against corruption will henceforth be part of government performance contracting, to ensure it takes hold in the public sector.

He emphasised that his government would pursue a two-pronged strategy, with prosecution punishing the culprits, and civic education informing the public of the government’s progress.

2015: Declares corruption 'a national security threat'

The President declared corruption a national security threat and ordered companies to sign approved code of conduct to transact business with Government.

He further urged religious leaders to "declare corruption a sin against God and humanity" and help fight corruption on their front.

In the same year, Mr Kenyatta suspended four Cabinet secretaries and eight top state officials named in a confidential anti-graft report.

2016: Rebukes agencies for failure to tame corruption

Uhuru defended his record in fighting corruption, insisting he had allowed all relevant government agencies sufficient space to deter the crime.

He said the infamous “Sasa mnataka nifanye nini jameeni?” (Now what do you want me to do) phrase revealing his frustration over the persistent corruption in the country.

2017: Re-affirms administration's commitment to the war against graft

In his state of the nation address, Mr Kenyatta assured MPs that his govt would not soften its stance in fighting corruption adding that at least Sh30 billion was recovered in graft proceeds - locally and in foreign countries.

2018: I will deal decisively with corrupt officials - Uhuru

In the wake of the Sh9 billion NYS heist, the President promised to deal decisively with unethical people caught in corruption.

“We are not going to tolerate unethical people. People with responsibility must be ready to serve and not to be served”, said the Head of State.


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