Corruption remains as one of the greatest obstacle to economic and social development in Kenya. The private sector is the supply-side of most corruption in Kenya, mostly through public procurement, which accounts for 70% of corruption in the public sector. The import and export sub sector, Procurement and tax and Licensing process are also some of the sectors plagued by corruption.

The Kenya Private Sector Association, KEPSA, has come out to say that corruption not only hinders Foreign Direct Investment but contributes to poverty in this country. Globally, CNN ranked Kenya among the top eight emerging markets that investors should embrace in 2016. The previous year, 2015, the Fortune Magazine singled Kenya out as one of the seven outstanding emerging markets worth investing in globally. This is attributed to accelerated infrastructure development and a stable political and macroeconomic environment. Kenya was the only African country in that list.

KEPSA acknowledges that while Kenya is highly attractive to investors, it can only be better if certain issues are dealt with. It is for this reason that the Kenya Private Sector Alliance KEPSA has come up with solutions to deal with corruption

1. Adoption of Code of Ethics for Business

KEPSA has championed the adoption of the Code of Ethics for Business in Kenya under the Global Compact Network Kenya whose secretariat is hosted by the Kenya Association of Manufacturers. The Kenya Bankers Association also signed up to this code on April 21st 2016 in the wake of closure of three banks in this year only on concerns that have a governance and ethical bearing.

2. Presidential Intervention

In addition to that, the Private Sector sought the intervention of the President to ensure that government only procures from companies who have signed up to a code of ethics. The Public Procurement Oversight Authority (PPOA) has since developed the Code of Ethics for Suppliers in Public Procurement and Disposal which the private sector is currently reviewing.

3. Business against Corruption in Kenya (BACK)

BACK developed a Draft Anti-Bribery Bill that seeks to support efforts to streamline the legal processes for dealing with corruption has been prepared. The Bill has proposed to bar directors who violate the set governance standards in any institution from serving in a similar capacity in other institutions. This will kill the culture of corrupt directors being awarded new positions while the police investigate them.

4. Establishment of Economic Crimes/Corruption Division of the High Court

KEPSA is also involved in pushing for the establishment of Economic Crimes/Corruption Division of the High Court. This will speed prosecution in corruption cases which hitherto are delayed in the ordinary judicial process. The court is currently being operationalized.

5. Master Item List

The private sector is pursuing for the gazettement of Master Item List which prices for common user good and services in public sector. This is will help reduce procurement of goods and services at inflated prices while the known prices are available in the public domain. The government has already directed PPOA to gazette quarterly lists for the procurement of common user goods and services.

6. MKenya Daima Campaign

KEPSA is spearheading the fourth phase of the MKenya Daima Campaign which focuses on National Values aligned to Article 10 of Kenya’s Constitution. The emphasis will be on accountability/transparency and leadership ethos. KEPSA CEO, Carole Kariuki, says that despite the Kenyan constitution remedying the legal mechanisms around contentious issues we must remain alive to the fact that a values based society is the ultimate solution. Carole also expresses her concern about credibility of the police in addition to the Judiciary, IEBC & the Supreme Court. Addressing the current tussle with IEBC, Carole retaliates that the body needs to win the trust of all the payers and stakeholders ahead of the 2017 general elections.

While all these sounds good on paper the implementation is what determines whether we will rid Kenya of corruption. If corrupt leaders continue to walk away with a slap on the wrist then we are setting the wrong precedent. Media (both traditional and new media) has also played a role in glorifying corruption which makes Kenyans more tolerable to corruption. On social media, we make and laugh at memes on corrupt leaders while honestly there is nothing funny about a few characters compromising systems for their own selfish gains. I hope to live to see the day corrupt politicians face tough consequences to corruption charges.