Edward Clay: Kenya's government is full of corrupt gluttons

From a speech by the UK ambassador to Kenya, given to the British Business Association in Nairobi

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It is outrageous to think that corruption accounts for about 8 per cent of Kenya's GDP. Kenya is not a rich country in terms of oil deposits, diamonds or some other buffer which might featherbed a thoroughgoing culture of corruption. What it chiefly has is its people - their intelligence, work ethic, education, entrepreneurial and other skills.

It is outrageous to think that corruption accounts for about 8 per cent of Kenya's GDP. Kenya is not a rich country in terms of oil deposits, diamonds or some other buffer which might featherbed a thoroughgoing culture of corruption. What it chiefly has is its people - their intelligence, work ethic, education, entrepreneurial and other skills.

Those assets will be lost if they are not managed, rewarded and properly led. One day we may wake up at the end of this looting spree to find Kenya's potential is all behind us and it is a land of lost opportunity.

We never expected corruption to be vanquished overnight. We all recognised that some would be carried over to the new era. We hoped it would not be rammed in our faces. But it has: evidently the practitioners now in government have the arrogance, greed and perhaps a sense of panic to lead them to eat like gluttons. They may expect we shall not see, or will forgive them, a bit of gluttony because they profess to like Oxfam lunches. But they can hardly expect us not to care when their gluttony causes them to vomit all over our shoes; do they really expect us to ignore the lurid and mostly accurate details conveyed in the commendably free media and pursued by a properly-curious Parliament?

Some allegedly sober people have reproached the media for being "sensational". Such calls for media responsibility are usually a way of covering up threats. The fact is there would have been no disclosure had it not been for the press. It is the truths they have laid bare that are sensational and they need no dressing up.

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