Sunday, May 17

Kenya's press

The cover story in today's Nation (Kenya's leading daily) is a pretty fine example of the strengths and weaknesses of Kenya's press. The papers are more than willing to make accusations of wrongdoing on the part of the country's leaders. The headline splashed across the front page is "Bribery in Kenya's Parliament."

Kenya’s Parliament is increasingly becoming a haven of corruption as more and more MPs fall into traps set by unscrupulous but influential political and financial kingpins, the Sunday Nation can reveal.

Multiple interviews with sitting and former House members found a growing trend where wealthy and influential politicians who find themselves on the receiving end generously offer handouts as they lobby MPs to vote in their favour.

But then comes a key paragraph:

A string of wealthy politicians and business magnates, who cannot be named for legal reasons, have perfected the art of bribing a section of MPs in the guise of lobbying them to debate or vote in a way that favours their interests
The papers will openly decry the presence of corruption, incompetence, ethnic baiting, etc, more openly than you'll get from the mainstream press in many of the other countries in the region. But unless a name comes up on the record in parliamentary debate, or in a speech by a politician, specific names are avoided. So the article is filled with attributed quotes from members of parliament expressing disappointment at the corrupt dealings going on among unnamed colleagues. But the chances of anyone being held accountable for the behavior described seem pretty slim.

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