Magazine article New African

Kenya: 'Nobody Could Call Me a Fussy Man'; the British High Commissioner to Kenya, Sir Edward Clay, Does Not Consider Himself a "Fussy Men" but He Can Sure Punch Where It Hurts. Blamuel Njururi Reports from Nairobi

Magazine article New African

Kenya: 'Nobody Could Call Me a Fussy Man'; the British High Commissioner to Kenya, Sir Edward Clay, Does Not Consider Himself a "Fussy Men" but He Can Sure Punch Where It Hurts. Blamuel Njururi Reports from Nairobi

Article excerpt

Edward Clay does not appear to have the quintessential British stiff upper lip. In early July, he stirred the diplomatic hornet's nest when he claimed that a Ksh 15 billion worth of corruption had seriously corroded Kenya's recovery image and cast doubts on the government's war on graft. He was immediately rebuked by Kenya's foreign minister, Ali Mwakwere, but solidly supported by the churches and civic bodies. Similar concern had earlier been expressed by the US ambassador to Kenya, William Bellamy.

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Clay made his claims in an address to the British business community in Kenya. He said it was outrageous to think that corruption in Kenya, at $800 annually, accounted for about 8% of GDP.

"The science is not exact, but I think the message is clear," he said. "Kenya, which scores low on almost every indicator that matters these days, has a burden of corruption that is large compared to its people's diminishing wealth. It is using up its own quota of 3%, plus also the unused quotas of Finland or perhaps all of Scandinavia."

Corruption, the Briton said, was not just the business of Kenyans. During the 2002 election campaign, the government had made promises to both the people and development partners to curb corruption.

"We are one of the partners to those understandings," Clay said. "When they are broken, we feel let down. Without them, progress on the economic recovery strategy will be most unreliable. And we are invited to channel funds into a government which cannot be relied upon to spend money properly, on the basis of proper authorisations, for the purposes for which it was voted. …

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