June 19, 2023


When ‘wananchi’ witness rampant corruption, they become disillusioned and lose faith in their leaders, affecting social cohesion and stability.

More by Winnie Kabintie

The persistent challenge of corruption in Kenya

The persistent challenge of corruption in Kenya

Corruption in Kenya

Corruption has been a long-pressing issue in Kenya, undermining the country’s progress and jeopardizing its socio-economic development. Despite efforts to combat this menace, corruption remains deeply entrenched in various sectors, impeding growth, eroding public trust, and exacerbating social inequalities.

Causes of Corruption in Kenya

Several factors contribute to the prevalence of corruption in Kenya. One primary cause is weak governance and institutional deficiencies and the other one is just greed. Inadequate transparency, accountability, and oversight mechanisms further continue to create fertile ground for corrupt practices to flourish. Additionally,  the influence of powerful individuals and vested interests often obstructs the enforcement of anti-corruption measures, perpetuating a culture of impunity.

Poverty and economic inequality is another contributing factor to corruption in Kenya. Limited access to basic services and livelihood opportunities drives individuals towards corrupt practices as a means of survival.

Impacts of corruption

The consequences of corruption are far-reaching and detrimental to the society and economy. Corruption undermines public trust in the government and public institutions. When ‘wananchi‘ witness rampant corruption, they become disillusioned and lose faith in their leaders, affecting social cohesion and stability.

Corruption also has dire economic ramifications. It diverts resources away from essential sectors such as education, healthcare, and infrastructure, hindering the country’s development and exacerbating inequalities. Foreign direct investment is deterred by a corrupt business environment, further impeding economic growth and job creation.

Corruption also fosters an uneven playing field for businesses, favoring those with connections and who can afford to pay kickbacks rather than those with genuine merit. This has further increased the cost of doing business in Kenya.

Efforts  to tackling corruption in Kenya

Kenya has institutional structures in place to help combat corruption such as the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI). The country has also enacted legislation such as the Public Finance Management Act and the Bribery Act to enhance accountability and prosecute corrupt individuals.

What has always lacked is political goodwill and corruption itself has also sipped through these institutions rendering them ‘toothless bulldogs’.

The government has embraced technology to promote transparency and efficiency, especially around public procurement. Initiatives such as the Integrated Financial Management System (IFMIS) have been implemented to enhance financial accountability, while the e-procurement platform has increased transparency in public procurement processes. These efforts aim to minimize human interaction, thereby reducing opportunities for bribery and embezzlement.

However, more must be done to strengthen anti-corruption measures. Addressing corruption in Kenya requires a multi-faceted approach, encompassing effective governance, institutional reforms, and a shift in societal attitudes. Enhancing the independence and capacity of anti-corruption agencies, ensuring swift prosecution and conviction of corrupt individuals, and promoting a culture of ethics and integrity are crucial steps towards eradicating corruption.

We also need to foster civic education, empower civil society organizations, and promote whistleblower protection to help create an environment conducive to exposing and preventing corrupt practices.



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