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Corruption Disguised as Democracy

Uhuru Kenyatta was elected president of Kenya in 2013 on the strength of three main promises: convening a Constituent Assembly to follow the constitution and improve the state, fighting poverty and social exclusion, and eliminating corruption. Nine years later, it has become evident that the Constituent Assembly primarily was a vehicle to destroy all existing political institutions and replace them with a bureaucracy beholden to his wishes. Poverty and social exclusion remain as prominent as before, while the levels of government corruption are higher than ever.

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Today, the nation is locked in an intense struggle between the defenders of democracy and a president intent on protecting his legacy. As the Kibaki era came to an end, Kenya was ripe for significant political change. The main contenders in the 2013 presidential election were Uhuru Kenyatta  and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga, they promised radical political change. Kenyans perceived Raila as someone who looked and spoke like them and could, therefore, represent them better. His electoral promises were crucial in winning the votes of the majority.

Three major areas of corruption have emerged during the Uhuru’s presidency: grand corruption, derived from major policy decisions made by Pres. Uhuru like government projects; bureaucratic corruption, at the level of the government bureaucracy; and systemic corruption, taking place at the interface between the government and the private sector.


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