Message of optimism as German President Köhler presents John Githongo with the Deutsche Afrika Stiftung’s highest honor
Transparency International (TI), the anti-corruption NGO, today offered its heartfelt congratulations to John Githongo, who will be presented with the German Africa Award by German President Horst Köhler on 12 April. Githongo is the former Kenyan Permanent Secretary for Governance and Ethics and a founding member of Transparency International Kenya. Peter Eigen, TI Chairman, speaking from Berlin said, "This is a great validation of the work Githongo has done over the years and indirectly for transparency International's mission, a mission he has been an essential part of." Eigen continued, "This award comes at a good time, showing that Gothongo has the support of the international community as he embarks on this new phase in his career."
With this award, the Deutsche Afrika Stiftung (German Africa Foundation) honours Githongo for his tireless efforts as one of Africa's most distinguished corruption fighters. Originally a journalist, Githongo began working with TI in 1996 and was later elected to its international Board of Directors. In December of 1999, he was appointed Executive Director of the fledgling Kenyan chapter of Transparency International, with a mandate to create a secretariat and a programme of activities. This he did, notwithstanding the repressive rule of Daniel Arap Moi. Later, in a dramatic move, Githongo was appointed as the Permanent Secretary for governance and Ethics by President Mwai Kibaki after the NARC government came to power on an anti-corruption platform.
Githongo has since resigned from this post, but remains a powerful advocate of governance reform in Kenya and across Africa. Reflecting on the situation on the continent, Muzong Kodi, TI Regional Director for Africa and the Middle East, said, "By adopting the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption and by including a strong governance component in the New Partnership for Africa's Development, African leaders have committed themselves to fighting the scourge of corruption on the continent. The example set by John Githongo will inspire other Africans to hold their governments accountable for this commitment."
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