Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Corruption in Kenya - Old news

This past week a judge in San Francisco tried to shut down Wikileaks, a website that publishes leaked government documents. One of the documents on the site is a report, known in Kenya as the "Githongo Report" that outlines the extent to which ex-President Moi used his position to extract money from the country. The report is sort of old news, but I wasn't aware of it. What's more, I didn't realize that it had been suppressed by the very person who commissioned it, current President Mwai Kibaki, of electoral fraud fame.

Apparently Moi and Kibaki became close political allies. According to the Wikileaks site:

Ex-President Moi, a corrupt, brutal, discredited former dictator, has somehow again become a key player in political life in Kenya - so much, that he is now an essential pillar in current President Kibaki's re-election campaign. His massive financial resources are expected to be used to buy Kibaki popular support particularly in the populous Rift Valley region, which voted almost to the man against Kibaki in the last election, and in November 2005 during a constitutional referendum. The leaker thinks the re-emergence of President Moi is scandalous and must be stopped.
What's clear is that money and power had a lot more to do starting the current violence in Kenya than did tribe. (Moi is Kalenjin, one of the tribes that's attacked, and been attacked, by Kibaki's Kikuyu tribe.) It's tragic that once corrupt leaders let the tribalism genie out of the bottle, there's no putting it back.

Update: Nicholas Kristof wrote a powerful column in today's NY Times that's good evidence of how far out of control things have gotten.

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About Me

I'm a biochemist at a small college.