Home > Great Britain, Kenya, Labour Party, POLITICS, Zimbabwe > How to get on in Africa.

How to get on in Africa.


Last night’s Dispatches programme on Channel 4 was an excellent expose of corruption in Africa. Sorious Samura, a Sierra Leone journalist visited the huge slum of Kibera in Nairobi, Kenya to illustrate how the poor have to contribute money to officials in order to survive. From building a home in a slum to finding a job was a shocking tale of paying bribes. There was generally criticism and rightly that the make poverty history campaign is a joke and the the priority should be to eliminate corruption. Sorious Samura also showed how easy it was to set up bogus charities so that thieves can obtain funds trickling through from foreign aid. DFID funds are clearly being looted as we write. Sorious Samura finished the programme in Sierra Leone where illustrated how corruption was rooted in the primary schools here teachers not receiving their pay expected some little payment in kind and cash from their pupils, we have been funding Sierra Leone for free primary education for some time so clearly some people have been making a lot of money from DFID funding, that funding has recently been suspended.

Corruption in Africa should be a priority concern and target, aid should be suspended until corruption is dealt with.

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  1. November 1, 2007 at 16:43

    I flew back from Nairobi yesterday after spending 2 weeks there. I had been on a fact finding mission to learn more about how my organisation (Children With AIDS Charity) could help a small group of locals in Dagoretti to establish a charitable organisation to assist OVCs (Orphans and Vulnerable Children) and their extended families to improve nutrition, access to essentials and generate income for future sustainable living. It was a tough experience as I was unprepared for the level of desperation that poverty creates and the level of bribery and corruption that is so prevalent. I met with reps from many other bodies out there to learn of past and current successes and constraints. I discovered that Unicef have no income generating projects in Kenya – but that they assist approx. 62,000 families with cash every 2 months for taking in street children…Unaids were of the view that all projects should go through the government – this in spite of the well known bribes that take place…the World Food Program co-ordinator I met had not been in post for long and did not seem enthusiastic about the project plans. I met numerous tiny community based organisations who were working at grass roots level in dire conditions who doggedly strove to make a difference – working in the slums with nothing but a shack over their heads.

    The documentary was brilliant and tells a truth that is important for all donors to hear. But I believe that suspending funding because of corruption is not the way forward for Kenya. As Sorious Samura, the fantastic journalist so clearly stated – Kenya desperately needs aid funding. What donors need to do is to ensure that their funding is delivered to the right people with the kind of support and training that will ensure feedback is obtained direct from the beneficiaries – that is children and their families. It is not enough to throw money in a vague direction and hope that it ends up in the right place. During my time in the slums I did not meet any field workers from the WFP, Unicef, DfID or Unaids carrying out monitoring or evaluation in the field itself. This in itself is vital – as is providing strategic funding that will enable families to generate their own incomes – talk to families and it soon becomes clear that money can be made if start up capital can be provided. I met many people who had worked extremely hard to establish small family businesses to enable them to move out of the slums.

    My organisation is now far more aware of the challenges ahead but we are merely all the more determined to rise to these challenges rather than bail out with a list of excuses or fall by the wayside because we choose to be incapable of helping children infected and affected by HIV and AIDS in the name of ‘corruption’. Progress will take time but we will find a way to improve the lives of the youngest of those infected and affected by HIV and AIDS.

  2. zebrambizi
    November 1, 2007 at 17:39

    Thanks for your comment, it makes fascinating reading. I spent some years as a teacher in Nairobi, on arrival I used to hear the phrase TKK, I thought this might be some sort of motorbike or scooter, it didn’t take me long to realize it was a euphemism for bribery, give me a little something to grease the wheels!

    The issue is that it is deeply rooted in all government functions local and national, worst of all in the various police forces. In general, God knows how many billions of dollars of aid has gone down the drain or rather foreign bank accounts.

    I have every admiration for those few genuine Kenyans, I know they exist, deeply inspired to rise above the culture of corruption and no doubt they often achieve the best they can with or without the funding they need.

    I agree one is motivated by a feeling that those suffering from HIV/AIDS or other terminal illnesses desperately need help. Humanitarian programmes which can be validated, confirmed by people on the ground must continue.

    The stopping of aid could relate to the big projects. Next time you return to ask about the Nairobi – Mombasa Highway – considerable monies from the EU over many years have been given to this project – yet even now there a parts of the road which remain impassable or unfinished.

    We must take the action necessary to deal with corruption from the highest levels of government, in addition, something should be done to ensure using foreign banks to hoard stolen money must be ended.

    Moi and his family apparently stashed away $2 billion, he’s not the only one.

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