Kenya’s coalition government is fomenting graft on a scale not seen since President Daniel Arap Moi’s day, and leaders should beware of the “revolutionary” spirit among their disgruntled people, a prominent activist has said.

“It’s a kleptocracy, they can’t stop themselves stealing,” said Mwalimu Mati, who runs the Mars Group watchdog, disliked by the government for its analyses of waste and misappropriation in the national budget and remuneration of legislators.

President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga formed a unity government a year ago to end the worst bloodshed since Kenya’s 1963 independence, after a disputed presidential poll.

Despite ending violence that killed at least 1,300 people and uprooted 300,000, their government has done little to bring perpetrators to justice, push forward political reforms, or ease worsening economic hardships for most people here, analysts say.

To the further dismay of Kenyans and foreign donors, a raft of new scandals have come to light under the Kibkai-Odinga coalition — notably in skewed distribution of oil and maize, but also in the immigration, tourism and financial sectors.

“It looks and feels like during the worst parts of the Moi government, especially from around 1990 when a feeding frenzy began,” he said late on Thursday, referring to the start of Kenya’s biggest scandals, “Goldenberg” and “Anglo Leasing”.

Those two scams — one involving bogus mineral exports and the other a fictitious company granted inflated tenders — have held back development in east Africa’s largest economy.


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