Transparency International ranked Kenya 145 out of 175 countries in its 2014 Corruption Perceptions Index. The country’s President Uhuru Kenyatta, who has often been criticized for not doing enough to fight the scourge has now announced a national call to action against corruption.
The president said in a statement that every company seeking to work with the Kenyan government would have to sign an approved Business Code of Ethics, and any business that fails to comply with the Code would be disqualified from doing business with government.
Mr Kenyatta said a campaign being spearheaded by the private sector would focus on national values.
“The campaign will also target corruption as being shameful and dishonourable as is those who practice it. I assure the private sector of my support and that of my government in this endeavour,” the president said.
He also said the government would introduce penalties in performance contracts, and tie each department and agency to the timelines given in service charters.
The president also asked that values be taught in schools and that religious leaders should declare corruption a sin against God and humanity.
People in government will also undergo compulsory and continuous ethics and integrity training.
Mr Kenyatta added: “I have met with the Governor of the Central Bank of Kenya, and with the head of the Financial Reporting Centre, to discuss and agree with them how we can ensure the banking system is not used to launder the proceeds of theft and fraud.”
He said banks found culpable would lose their banking licences and their directors and senior officials made to face the law.
“I believe that corruption is a standing threat to our national security. The bribe accepted by an official can lead to successful terrorist attacks that kill Kenyans. It can let a criminal off the hook for them to return to crime and harming Kenyans. Terrorism itself is a national security threat,” Kenyatta asserted.
To ensure that the new call to action achieves the desired results, the president directed Kenya’s Chief of Staff and Head of Public Service to report to him on a weekly basis on progress in implementing the measures announced. He also made some officials and government agencies responsible for some of the measures in the statement.
Kenya’s Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) score for 2014 was 25 percent. President Kenyatta will be hoping for a change as a result of his government’s stance against corruption.