Raila wants transparency in graft fight

November 8, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 8 – Prime Minister Raila Odinga has called on institutions charged with investigating corruption in the country to remain professional, transparent and non partisan.

He urged them to present water tight cases which will keep of the temptation by suspects to play politics and appeal to their tribes because they are caught.

Mr Odinga who was delivering a key note speech at the World Economic Forum CEO round table at a Nairobi hotel on Monday expressed concern that Kenya has slipped further down the corruption index.

“This has necessitated the renewed vigour in the fight against corruption," he added.

Emphasising that the government was committed to tackling the vice once and for all, the Mr Odinga asked Kenyans to think of the heavy toll exacted on the country and their responsibility to stop it.

The PM however asked the media to remain above aboard when reporting on incidents of corruption, adding that it was unfortunate that some reports in sections of the media were not accurate.

Once again, Mr Odinga took issue with reports that when he was in Kitui recently; he said he will support the goings on at the Ministry of Water. He clarified  that  what he actually said was that he will support Water Minister Charity Ngilu in her tireless efforts of providing water to arid and semi arid  areas in the country.

“I did not say I supported the way tenders are awarded in that Ministry. Let us not apportion blame where there is none. We should also avoid condemning people unheard,” he said.

Saying that corruption was a major impediment to development in the country the Prime Minister cited free primary education as success story that indicated where this nation would be without corruption.

He noted that though the government had spent billions of shillings so that children could learn free in primary schools, the programme had not interfered with investment in other sectors.

"It is during the same period that we have unveiled the biggest investment ever in infrastructure, including roads, energy and housing,” he said. “This is s clear testimony to where this nation would be without corruption.”

On the assessment of Kenya’s competitiveness by the World Economic Forum, Mr Odinga said it was encouraging that the report had placed Kenya above China in the financial market development and at par with India and South Africa.

In the labour market efficiency, Kenya is above India and South Africa and at par with China, while in higher education and training; Kenya is nearly at par with India and close to China and South Africa.

The PM however acknowledged that Kenya was weak in basic requirements of competitiveness like the quality of government institutions and infrastructure.

He expressed disappointment that the quality of health and primary education in the country score poorly and the macro-economic environment is ranked very poor in comparison to South Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa average.
“These are the critical factors that we must address if we are to make Kenya truly competitive,” he added.

Indeed, he said, Kenyans have begun addressing these weaknesses by overwhelmingly voting for the new Constitution.

Noting that the Constitution holds a great potential to create an ideal business environment, Raila said extensive reforms will be required in a number of areas. “The private sector, civil society and youth all have a critical role to play in helping effect the fundamental changes we desire,” he added.

The Danish ambassador  to Kenya Geert Aagaard Anderson also spoke at the forum.


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