Friday, February 27, 2009

Kenyan coalition government and it's progress after a year

The Kenyan coalition government is only a year old, and already their public is feeling let down by it's leaders actions.

When created, the government of Kenya promised to fight poverty and bring justice. Instead, many cabinet positions have been created with high salaries. Violence that occurred over contested election results in 2007 have yet to see any justice for 1000 who died in the violence.

From this Associated Press article that we found in the Lexington Herald Leader, reporter Katharine Houreld touches on the corruption that prevents anti-poverty efforts.

Instead, the government has created a record number of cabinet posts, refused to release a probe into the controversial sale of a luxury government-owned hotel and has asked for $400 million in donations to help avert a possible famine for more than 10 million Kenyans.

"This government is robbing the people blind with one hand and holding out the begging bowl with the other," said Gladwell Otieno, head of the Nairobi-based Africa Society for Open Governance.

Her group has organize protests over the size of the Cabinet - 93 ministers and assistant ministers - and the salaries of parliament members. Kenyan lawmakers earn about $132,000 annually, of which nearly four-fifths is untaxable benefits.

Politicians argue that they spend much of their salaries assisting impoverished constituents: Nearly 60 percent of the population lives on less than $2 a day.

The perks are particularly galling when food prices are rocketing and the government is investigating a grain scandal. The head of the country's tourism board was also mired in scandal and nearly $100 million worth of gasoline disappeared from government storage last year.

Mutua said the government was investigating those scandals and would prosecute where necessary. More than 150 officials have been charged with corruption in the past five years, although a congested judiciary had secured only a handful of convictions.

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