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Published 28th May 2004

Vol 45 No 11


Fighting mighty magendo

After 18 months in power, the government faces some critical tests in its anti-corruption struggle

'Anti-corruption campaigns are good politics ­ they're popular with the voters!' a smiling senior official told Africa Confidential last week. That's true only if the campaigns work: Kenyan voters are a sceptical lot. The anti-corruption credentials of President Mwai Kibaki's government are under heavy scrutiny on two counts: holding to account those responsible for the grand corruption of the 1990s and early 2000: the fake export schemes, the land grabs, the extorters of commissions on contracts and trade; and more urgently, to stop those corrupt practices from continuing under the new order. A new cabal ­ of business, politicians and civil servants ­ is trying to push through lucrative deals. Procurement is big business: about half of the government's budget of over 200 billion Kenya shillings (US$2.3 bn.) is spent on it and now subject, in theory, to more stringent rules, introduced last year. Previously, procurement decisions had been devolved to individual ministries: the new rules centralise decision-making in the Treasury with decisions taken by the Permanent Secretary, subject to final assessment by the Finance Minister.

Nairobi's nomenklatura

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An emerging elite of business people and politicians is jockeying for influence and contracts

The business and political sands have shifted since President Mwai Kibaki took office in January 2003. Some loyal business retainers of the Daniel arap Moi era have been unceremoni...

People's power

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President Museveni's third term bid is splitting the governing party he so patiently built

The desire to stay in power for a third term could prove the chink in President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni's well-maintained armour. It has divided his National Resistance Movement as ...

The LRA fights on

After a brief rest, the Lord's Resistance Army under Joseph Kony has slaughtered more defenceless civilians in displaced camps in northern Uganda. In Pagak on 16 May, the rebels cl...

No turning back

The state of emergency in Plateau escalates the President's confrontation with state governors

President Olusegun Obasanjo's suspension of Plateau State Governor Joshua Ariye and the State House of Assembly points to a growing constitutional crisis. As investigations continu...

Fast buck, slow famine

US companies help President Mugabe to finance secret food imports

President Robert Mugabe is staking his people's future on false claims of a bumper harvest. His Information Minister, Jonathan Moyo, parrots the line but fails to convince Zimbabwe...

The East needs oil

Higher oil prices are helping Africa's producers and punishing its consumers

With its eyes fixed on Iraq, the United States has done little to diversify its sources of crude oil, despite some proposals that were bandied around a couple of years ago (AC Vol ...


Yes, guv

It took three months of negotiation for President Joseph Kabila to nominate the eleven provincial governors. The Mission des Nations Unies en République du Congo (Monuc) app...

A long, long wait

The day-long delay in signing the latest protocol between the National Islamic Front governmentment and the Sudan People's Liberation Army in Kenya on 26 May points to disagreement...