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

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Manager / Sales - OTE £45,000

£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is a solutions / s...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £45,000

£18000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive is required t...

Recruitment Genius: Test Development Engineer

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you inspired to bring new a...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Motor Engineer

£14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Kennedy campaign for the Lib Dems earlier this year in Bearsden  

Charles Kennedy: A brilliant man whose talents were badly needed

Baroness Williams
Nick Clegg (R) Liberal Democrat Leader and former leader Charles Kennedy MP, joined the general election campaign trail on April 8, 2010  

Charles Kennedy: The only mainstream political leader who spoke sense

Tim Farron
Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific