Deeds, Not Words, Count in the Fight Against Corruption

Corruption and impunity create social distortions and divisions.

President Uhuru Kenyatta during the National Prayer Breakfast at Safari Park Hotel

We commend the President of the Republic of Kenya for his unequivocal message to end corruption.

The decision to replace the existing 1000 Shilling note is an important step forward. It will place the corrupt who have been hiding cash outside the financial system in real difficulty. Furthermore, we support the Central Bank in its efforts to implement international money laundering regulations. 

Last week’s National Prayer Breakfast focused on a “New Dawn” for Kenya – one without corruption. This is commendable. However, deeds, not words, count in the fight against corruption. Rightly so, the President of the Republic of Kenya challenged his fellow politicians to stop the rhetoric and instead to translate their talk into actions. 

The needs and aspirations of the Kenyan citizens must be taken seriously. They continue to ask for action when it comes to how to invest the wealth of this rich and beautiful nation. As international partners we fully support this demand. 

Corruption and impunity

Corruption and impunity create social distortions and divisions; they fuel inequity and poverty; they destroy the fabric of society and hamper long-term development. Corruption distorts elections. Corruption continues to negatively affect Kenya’s business climate leading foreign investors and traders to shy away from doing business in Kenya. Further corruption destroys opportunities for youth. Kenya needs investment – not corruption.

Without corruption, international and domestic investments in Kenya’s future, both public and private, would be more effective. It would set Kenya firmly on the path to prosperity, universal health care, food security, education for all, vocational training to give young people key skills, and a better life for every Kenyan citizen. We note that if Kenya succeeded in its anti-corruption efforts, the estimated one third of the annual budget that is lost to corruption would be sufficient to fund Kenya’s ambitious Big Four program.

The effort to combat corruption needs to be accelerated. It needs courage from all Kenyans wherever they are and whatever their circumstances. Everyone has a role – politicians, officials, business people and all wananchi. Complacency is not an option.

Those facing corruption charges, including civil servants, should step aside from their official positions until their judicial cases have been concluded. As the President said, money must be recovered; and culprits must vacate their positions and serve jail terms for the process to come full circle.

Churches, mosques, temples and religious leaders should deny vigorously financial donations from people whose wealth is of potentially illicit origin. Religious leaders must be part of the solution in the fight against corruption. They must be a moral voice in the fight against corruption.

National Anti-Corruption Conference

We commend the President for directing the various government agencies to facilitate the importation of goods by reducing inspections at the country’s borders, and for directing the accounting officers to pay all pending payments that do not have audit queries before the end of this fiscal year. 

Both directives – if implemented properly – will benefit the Kenyan economy. Furthermore, the directives are important steps against corruption. Businesses in dire need of imported goods or of being paid by the Government are potentially more prone to corrupt officials to get their goods cleared or their services paid.

We reiterate our commitments expressed at the National Anti-Corruption Conference in January. As Kenya’s development partners, we will ensure the anti-corruption measures and incentives already included in our programming are further strengthened.

We continue to support and cooperate with the agencies in charge of fighting corruption. Based on our respective legal frameworks and policies, we will make it more difficult for those involved in corruption to visit our countries privately and to use our financial centers. If people are convicted of corruption in Kenya or breach our own laws, we will ensure that any proceeds held in our countries are seized and returned to the people of Kenya.

It is clear that zero tolerance for corruption is the only way forward. We all have to make the fight against corruption a personal priority.

By the Ambassadors/Representatives of Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Colombia, Denmark, European Union, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovak Republic, UK, U.S.A., Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the UN.

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