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Kenyan blogosphere Dispatch

The Anglo Leasing corruption scandal continues this week, a video (WMV file 34MB) of a piece done by the BBC is available on kenyaunlimited courtesy of Mshairi and Mentalacrobatics, it is also available on Bittorent thanks to Maitha. The video is of an interview with John Githongo, a former anti corruption official in the Kenya government, Sir Edward Clay, former British High commisioner to kenya, Mr. Joseph Muchemi, Mr. Hillary Benn secretary of state for international development UK. Therein is a recording Mr. Githongo made of cabinet minister Kiraitu Murungi, who was trying to scuttle John Githongo's work by blackmailing him. Watch it to get an idea of the level of corruption Kenya is grappling with. As of the writing of this post, Mr. Murungi is denying the authenticity of the tape, while a former prosecutor Mr. Murgor confirms that indeed, that was Mr. Murungi's voice and in line with his habit of impeding anti graft investigations.[via Nation Media - free subscription]

Ntwiga thinks Mr. Murungi is “playing footsies with reality” and asks some questions that he would need to answer to “deal with the issues at hand”

+ Did you or did you not participate in the looting from the Kenyan people that has been and continues to take place? If so, stand up and face the music.
+ If you did not participate in looting and grand corruption, attempt to present evidence to this effect. If you have no evidence, then state this and claim your innocence. Kenya law maintains that you are innocent until proven guilty.

Kenyanpundit Points out that the focus right now is on individuals, yet there exists a network of corruption that is institutionalized. In her piece “On Grand Corruption in Kenya”She notes that not enough is being said about ‘the big picture’. She then gives a very thorough and detailed breakdown of very pertinent matters to the question of corruption, including her thoughts on civic education, “Fact is that voters generally react to more basic concerns whether it is tribe, popularity, fear, etc. (not just in Kenya, how do you explain two terms of George Bush?). ” She also states

…there needs to be a better effort at tying the impact of corruption to their daily lives. Now that you’ve exposed just how much is spent in luxury car, what exactly does the fact that your “bendera MP” is driving a S-500 Merc mean for you as a constituent?

Mentalacrobatics echoes the sentiments of one of the kenyans in the BBC video piece.

About half way through the video of the BBC report with Githongo the TV crew meet a man who tells them, “My vote is my weapon I know what I will do in the next general election. I will throw them out.” Amen. No need for guns and militia for us, I’ve got all the power I need in this voter’s card.

He also provides some examples to illustrate Kenyans’ shift in attitude toward the politics, noting

Politicians in Kenya today should be worried as it looks like the whole country has learnt the art of the poker face and fake smile. We’ve learnt how to do politics. We may tell you one thing and go out and do something completely different. Clever politicians have to keep on their toes as we the public have finally understood our role in this whole democracy thing, you work for us. The sooner you understand that, the better.

Whispering Inn gives four reasons why he does not think much will change after the 2007 elections, saying “dont bet on change”

Magaidi rants (toungue in cheek) saying “we need a kenyan git-mo” to accomodate the corrupt individuals from the Anglo leasing and goldenberg scandal.

Kenyan Analyst looks at the scandal in a wider context, in the post “Githongo the man and the secrets” , he thinks “No doubt the Brits and others have their own interestsin this (they always call it “enlightened self-interest”)…” he draws parallels between the githongo story and the watergate break in, where he feels that there are other factors at play.

Bankelele compares the cell phone services of Kenya's top providers, Safaricom Vs Celltel, in the post is also a bit on the Anglo Leasing scandal. He points out that “The day after Finance Minister David Mwiraria resigned, the People newspaper reported that one of the triggers of his departure was that the US Embassy in Nairobi has signalled that it would not grant him a visa to head a Kenyan delegation travelling to Washington DC to attend World Bank talks in February.”

As you can tell, the anglo leasing scandal is a very fluid story, to keep abreast of the developments do visit KenyaUnlimited, a collection of Kenyan blogs.

If all this anglo leasing stuff makes you dizzy, Adrian has a series of beautiful photos of his family's farm in the post Bean harvest in Loitokitok

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