Britain wants good governance in Kenya

January 26, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 26 – Britain has demanded full transparency from the Kenyan government over allegations of corruption and mismanagement in the maize sector.

British High Commissioner Rob Macaire on Monday said his government would also like to see transparency in policy issues relating to price controls and subsidies.

“We really hope that this food crisis doesn’t become a political football, it’s not used for political point scoring.  It is really important that the coalition government pulls together to deal with it,” he said.

He pointed out that the crisis should not be used to derail implementation of other existing priorities like the constitution review, electoral reforms and dealing with impunity.

“Corruption is a serious issue.  It is damaging to the economy, it hurts ordinary people and damages the country’s reputation internationally,” Mr Macaire stated.

“It’s a very serious impediment to Kenya and what we would say is that it is really important that whenever there are allegations of corruption or mis-governance that they are properly and fully investigated and those investigations are enacted.”

The government on Monday dissolved the entire National Cereals and Produce Board which has been at the centre of controversy following irregular purchase of maize. The move according to the Agriculture Minister William Ruto was aimed at stamping out corruption in the public body.

Meanwhile the British diplomat has said the current food crisis could be a clear warning of the negative impacts of climate change.

Mr Macaire said although climate change could not be entirely to blame for the crisis, unpredictable weather conditions had led to four successive seasons of poor rains leading to the crisis.

He said the impacts of climate change were likely to be felt severely if no action was taken.

“An investment in low carbon infrastructure and energy efficiency can actually serve as a stimulus to renewed economic growth,” he said.

“The private sector has also recognised that climate change isn’t just a threat but also an opportunity.”

He emphasised that future global climate security depended on successful international cooperation.

At the same time, Environment Secretary Alice Kaudia said the government was in the process of formulating a policy that specifically targeted Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) projects.

“However, we must recognise that the government already has an environment policy that has been guiding us which we are in the process of reviewing to easily articulate CDM issues and very soon we should be having that out,” Ms Kaudia said.

“However, climate change and CDM issues are relatively new in our development scene and we will be able to articulate this in our national policy in the long run,” she added.

They were speaking during the opening of a five-day workshop on CDM, which is an arrangement under the Kyoto protocol that allows countries with a green house gas reduction commitment to invest in projects that reduce emissions.

The seminar organised by the UK Climate Change Projects Office and the UK Trade and Investment brought together partners from public and private sectors in Kenya and a delegation of representatives from UK companies with an aim to discuss the carbon market and identify potential CDM projects in Kenya.


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