The ratification of the Constitution on August 4th, 2010 and its consequent promulgation on August 27th was a significant milestone in the establishment of an effective policy and legal framework to support the reform process in Kenya. In line with this, TI-K conducted an opinion poll to ascertain Kenyans’ expectations of corruption trends under the new constitutional dispensations. The specific objectives of the poll were to:
- Establish the extent to which Kenyans perceive corruption as a key issue in their local and national arena.
- Determine the proportion of Kenyans who believe that the new constitution will effectively tackle corruption.
- Gauge the expectations of Kenyans on the key governance institutions tasked with steering anti corruption efforts under the new constitution.
- Assess what Kenyans foresee as the major impediments to successfully combating corruption under the new dispensation.
- Evaluate the extent to which Kenyans appreciate their individual role in supporting anti corruption efforts.
The survey was carried out countrywide with a sample of 1,438 Kenyans above 18 years, selected randomly with a margin of error of + (-) 2.6% at 95% confidence level. The sample was generally distributed across the provinces based on the 2009 National Household and Population Census. Data collection was conducted through face to face interviews between 6th and 23rd September 2010.
- 97% of the respondents said that corruption is still a key problem in Kenya.
- More than three quarters (75%) of the sampled population expressed optimism that the new constitution will effectively support anti corruption efforts.
- About 60% of the respondents said that devolution of state resources will help reduce corruption.
- Lack of requisite management capabilities at the local level was identified as a likely cause of increased corruption in the devolved government by 20% of the respondents.
- Up to 53.8% of the respondents are unaware of any measures in place to help combat corruption in their locality. This could be an indication of the limited reach of the anti corruption interventions, especially at the grassroots level.
- Of the respondents who were knowledgeable of anti corruption measures on the ground, more than a half (53.2%) perceived these measures as ineffective. Almost a half of the respondents (48.9%), cited lack of commitment by government officials to implement anti corruption measures to the letter, as the reason for their ineffectiveness while 16.7% said the measures were not sufficiently comprehensive.
- Almost a third (32.9%) of the respondents expressed doubt that the affront against corruption may succeed under the new constitution citing the unwillingness of the government to speedily and fully implement the new constitution.
- About 30% of the respondents said anti corruption efforts may be derailed by the failure of leaders to ably represent the citizens’ governance concerns.
- Eighteen point four per cent (18.4%) cited citizen apathy as a likely cause for the failure of anti corruption efforts.
- With regard to what President and Prime Minister should prioritise in their anti corruption agenda under the new constitution, 39.5% of the respondents said that they should publicly renew their commitment to anti corruption efforts. An almost similar proportion (39.2%) hoped that the leaders will lead a campaign for the resignation of all public officials suspected of engaging in corrupt practices while 16.7% identified the resolution of pending corruption cases as a priority to be addressed by the principals.
- About 48% of the respondents believed that the passage of corresponding laws to support the new constitution should be Parliament’s first priority in ensuring that the constitution effectively supports anti corruption efforts. Almost a third of the respondents (31.1%) hoped that Parliament will prioritise the vetting of all key public officials to determine their suitability to serve in the positions that they occupy.
Leadership and Integrity
Transparency International Kenya calls upon citizens to closely monitor and participate in the implementation of the new constitution. TI-Kenya believes that the success of the constitution in creating a new and better order largely hinges on how well each institution and individual takes up responsibilities created therein.
“The common citizens have to maintain perpetual vigilance on those they have put in positions of trust and responsibility to ensure that public affairs are conducted with a high degree of integrity,” said TI-Kenya Executive Director Samuel Kimeu during the launch of the opinion poll.
Citizens must demand accountability from elected leaders and public servants, and insist on action against those that flout the provisions of chapter six on leadership and integrity in the constitution. Kenyans continue to witness nepotism and tribalism in public appointments, yet the constitution clearly stipulates that decisions affecting public affairs should be objective and impartial, devoid of nepotism, favouritism and other improper motives or corrupt practices. Kenyans must also vet all individuals vying for public office, and roundly reject those that fail to meet the high standards of integrity spelt out in chapter six. Parliament must prioritise vetting legislation above all other legislation.
The new constitution provides for citizen involvement in governance processes; Kenyans must begin filling this responsibility by taking advantage of the provisions that promote citizen participation. Article 35 under the Bill of Rights, gives citizens the right to access information held by the state. Kenyans must begin exercising this right, by demanding state-held information that will enable them to track and assess the performance of institutions that exist to serve them and the utilisation of public resources.
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