Campaign funding regulations derailing anti-graft war, says TI

Friday, January 24th, 2020 00:00 |
A political rally. Photo/File

The ongoing anti-graft war is beginning to bear fruit, albeit slowly, with the latest Transparency International report indicating that Kenya is ranked at position 137 out  of 180 globally in the corruption perception index.

However, the report indicts the country for failing to regulate funds—a grey area for corruption—used in election campaigns despite enacting the Election Campaign Financing Act in 2013. 

In the TI Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) released yesterday, Kenya obtained a score of 28 out of 100.

The score is, however, below the global average score of 43 and the sub-Saharan average score of 32. 

Rwanda was ranked the highest in the East African region, garnering 53 points followed by Tanzania with 37, Kenya and Uganda scoring 28, Burundi with 19 and South Sudan with 12 points. 

“Since 2012, Kenya has scored between 25 and 28, out of 100, having recorded a score of 27 in 2018, depicting slow progress in the fight against corruption,” the report says.

Expensive polls

The CPI measures the perceived levels of corruption in the public sector in countries and territories worldwide, drawing on 13 expert assessments and surveys of business executives. 

It uses a scale of zero (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean). 

On campaign funding, Parliament has deferred the implementation of the legislation to the 2022 election further crippling the ability of Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to monitor and regulate money used in campaigns. This has made elections in Kenya among the most expensive polls in Africa. 

“Governments must urgently address the corrupting role of big money in political party financing and the undue influence it exerts on our political systems,” said TI’s chair Delia Ferreira Rubio. 

Countries where campaign finance regulations are comprehensive and systematically enforced have an average score of 70 on the CPI, whereas countries where such regulations either don’t exist or are poorly enforced score an average of just 34 and 35 respectively. 

Conflict of interest

About 60 per cent of the countries that significantly improved their CPI scores since 2012 also strengthened regulations around campaign donations. 

Keenya’s anti-corruption efforts in the country have, however, been enhanced and a recent directive by President Uhuru Kenyatta on conflict of interest among public officials has the potential to escalate the success in the fight against graft if followed through. 

The TI proposed the review and amendment of the Election Campaign Financing Act, 2013 to give the IEBC powers to develop Regulations on money spent in campaigns, capacity strengthening of prosecution agencies, among other things 

The report ranks countries by their perceived levels of public sector corruption. It is a composite index, a combination of surveys and assessments of corruption which is collected by a variety of reputable institutions.

In Sub-Saharan Africa, Seychelles and Botswana have 66 and 61 points respectively. 

Ethiopia scored 37, Zambia, 34, Nigeria, 26, Zimbabwe 24, and the Democratic Republic of Congo 18. 

Denmark and New Zealand top the CPI 2019 with scores of 87. 

Somalia, South Sudan and Syria fall on the bottom rung with scores of nine, 12 and 13, respectively. 

In the last eight years, only 22 countries significantly improved their CPI scores, including Greece, Guyana and Estonia. In the same period, 21 countries significantly decreased their scores, including Canada, Australia and Nicaragua. 

In the remaining 137 countries, the levels of corruption show little to no change. 

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