In Kenya, the war on corruption does not convince -

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, Paris, 10 November 2018. ERIC FEFERBERG / AFP

You could laugh if they were not dizzying diversions of public money. Of the transactions "Questionable" In Japan, for example, the National Youth Agency (NYS) bought a tire for one million dollars (872,000 euros). Or even meat orders, again from the NYS, for 8.5 million dollars (7.4 million euros). This is the equivalent of 66 kg of steak a day … "Air contracts"these transactions in which everything is fictitious except for the siphoning of public accounts.

It is against these symbols of corruption in Kenya, as well as all other forms of malfeasance, that the president has made a crusade. In his December 31 votes, Uhuru Kenyatta insisted that he was counting on " win this war » versus "The common enemy "For six months, the subject permeates his speeches, sometimes in anger." We will recover all the stolen money. There will be no mercy for thieves. Their days are numbered. They will be tried and imprisoned He was already prophesying in May 2018.

Give a ticket regularly

Sincere intent, investor pressure, concern for political heritage? No one knows exactly what goal animates Uhuru Kenyatta, who begins his second and last term. One thing is certain, only one … Corruption has exploded since it took office in 2013: + 240% only on public procurement. " Amounts are increasingly important, says Samuel Kimeu, director of Transparency International Kenya. Over the years & # 39; 80 & & # 90; 90 [époque du président Daniel arap Moi, où la corruption s’est systématisée]we have heard commissions on 10 or 20% of contracts. Today, the cost of the projects will swell several times to include the cost of corruption. "

Despite its dynamic economy and strong democracy in an Eastern Africa dominated by authoritarian regimes, Transparency International places Kenya 143is ranking on 180 in its anti-corruption ranking, far behind good students like Rwanda, 48is.

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The phenomenon has a cost. Each year, 6 billion dollars (5.2 billion euros) are withdrawn from the state budget, limiting the number of health or education projects. For the average citizen, it is also about giving a ticket regularly, passing a police blast or advancing any file, creating an ambivalent relationship to corruption. All report him – in August 2018, he arrived according to a survey at the head of economic concerns, prior to purchasing power – but has no choice but to participate. " The problem is that the "kitu kidogo"(" Little thing "in Swahili, bribe) it also makes things work ", Admits the editorialist Nerima Wako-Ojiwa.

"Total impunity"

In parallel with his great speeches, Uhuru Kenyatta has released the great media. Procurement officials have been suspended. A lifestyle audit was announced for all public officials, including president and vice president. The new Attorney General, Noordin Haji, is supported by a team of investigators to conduct surveys as swiftly as possible in recent months, in particular against the leadership of the electrician Kenya Power and the infamous NYS (already prosecuted). in the past). Agreements have been signed with Switzerland and the United Kingdom for the repatriation of the stolen sums and even a "fund" for the redistribution of these assets.

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Yet the man in the street does not believe it. In a shrug, the answer is invariably the same: " It is exactly the same place of corruption itself, the head of state "Resignation and bitterness dominate, especially after the betrayal of the 2000s. Mwai Kibaki is therefore elected on the promise of eradicating corruption." We were ready, remembers Nerima Wako-Ojiwa, also founder of Siasa Place, an NGO that works to involve young people in politics. Among other things, the activist John Githongo is appointed director of the anti-corruption office, hosted at the Presidency. S. It will help to reveal the sad reality. Nothing changes, with the blessing of the presidency: " Hope died at that time, people concluded that we would never be rid of this disease. "

Furthermore, he notes, the famous "audit" is delayed and the recovery fund remains empty. Mostly, Kenyans want sanctions, preferably heavy. " Who was imprisoned? The prison, cIt is the only thing that will cut their desire, Woody Pummels, touching the steering wheel of his taxi. If he too denounces the tradition of total impunity Samuel Kimeu of Transparency International wants to give a chance to the initiative: " The simple fact that it exists is positive. But it's too early to say where it will take us. In two or three years we can look at the numbers and see if they have improved. "Just time for Uhuru Kenyatta to complete his term, ending in 2022.

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Marion Douet (Nairobi, correspondence)

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