Leading article: Empty promises, aid and corruption

Share

The relaxed manner in which the world has reacted to the accusations of corruption against the Kenyan government is as bizarre as it is indefensible. Last year, Kenya's respected anti-corruption chief, John Githongo, released a dossier accusing four Kenyan ministers of setting up bogus contracts with the intention of stealing millions of dollars from public funds. Mr Githongo also claimed that President Mwai Kibaki knew about the scam, but had decided to take no action. One might have expected that the international community would have at least put its annual $500m (£281m) aid donations on hold in light of these accusations. But not a bit of it. Last week, the World Bank revealed it will be proceeding with a fresh $120m loan to Kenya. And our own Department for International Development has pledged to make good on a £55m aid donation.

President Kibaki was elected in 2002 on a promise to stamp out corruption. But his administration seems to have sunk as low as that of his predecessor, Daniel arap Moi. These donations look all the more questionable in the light of Monday's revelation that, since 2002, the Kenyan government has spent $12m on official cars, including a fleet of 57 Mercedes. By some estimates, $1bn was lost in corruption over the past four years in Kenya.

Mr Githongo appears an impressive figure. The proper course of action for the international community would be to support him, or at least investigate his claims. But sending more money to Kenya undermines him, and everyone who has been fighting corruption in Kenya. DfID argues that it is impossible for these aid donations to be stolen because they will be channelled to specific development projects. This may be true in a strict sense. But aid helps relieve the Kenyan government of its responsibilities to its own people. And by taking the pressure off government finances, it widens the scope for graft.

It has been suggested that, after pushing hard last year for more aid for relatively progressive states such as Kenya, it would be politically embarrassing for our Government to withhold aid now. It would certainly be unfortunate timing coming so soon after the cut in aid to Ethiopia, prompted by the political crackdown by Tony Blair's fellow commissioner for Africa, President Meles Zenawi.

But whatever twisted reasoning lies behind these decisions, the world must reconsider. The evidence of corruption mounts up. The G8's talk of promoting good governance in Africa is looking increasingly empty. And pouring aid into a corrupt regime will do Kenyans no good. The international community - including our own Government - seems to be making the same mistakes all over again.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped commission: SThree: Does earning a 6 figu...

Recruitment Genius: SEO Executive

£18000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: New Lift Sales Executive - Lift and Elevators

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A challenging opportunity for a...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service / Receptionist

£14000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Cameron and Miliband went head-to-head in the live televised debate last night  

The Battle for Number 10: Great TV but not an interview for the job of prime minister

Alice Jones
Durham Free School, which has already been ordered to close, has been accused of harbouring  

From creationism and bullying to reading abilities that go backwards, free schools are a complete and utter failure

Tristram Hunt
The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss