‘Everyone Is Corrupt in Kenya, Even Grandmothers’

Michela Wrong, Foreign Policy, May 6, 2014

When the African press reported last month that Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe, not a leader known for his austere spending habits, had warned his generals against allowing his country to become “like Nigeria and Kenya, where you have to reach into your pocket to get anything done,” the reaction in East Africa’s biggest economy was one of derision. Kenya’s collective scorn, however, was not aimed at Mugabe. It was directed inward. “The truth is bitter,” ran a typical comment on the Standard newspaper’s website. “You know you are in trouble when a fellow thief accuses you of stealing!” said another. “Everyone is corrupt in Kenya, even grandmothers,” lamented another.

As the Jubilee administration, which triumphed in Kenya’s 2013 elections, passes its one-year mark, public perceptions and media priorities appear to be undergoing a fundamental shift. The obsession with the cases brought by the International Criminal Court (ICC) against President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto, in connection with Kenya’s 2007-2008 post-election violence, is subsiding as the likelihood of Kenyatta facing trial slowly fades. Taking its place in the public’s mind is a concern that was momentarily sidelined but that never, in truth, went away: burgeoning corruption.

Newspapers warn about it in editorials, columnists denounce it, beleaguered civil society groups lament it. Even foreign diplomats, bruised by the general drubbing they received after daring to express dismay at the imminent election of two ICC-charged politicians, have put their heads above the parapet to sound the alarm. “Corruption is undermining Kenya’s future,” 17 Nairobi-based ambassadors, along with the local International Monetary Fund (IMF) director, declared in mid-April. In an op-ed published in local papers, the ambassadors offered the government help putting in place the “systems, processes and procedures needed to make progress in the fight against corruption.”

They probably assumed the fact that donors cover nearly 27 percent of government expenses entitled them to an opinion. Yet the envoys’ tone was so emollient–“feeble slaps with gentle strokes,” the Daily Nationnewspaper termed it–many readers were left wondering why they had bothered publishing at all.

The government saw things differently. The head of public service summoned the envoys for a scolding, while Kenyatta’s press office accused them of libel, disrespect, and knee-jerk racism. “Who, but the most accomplished snake oil salesman can prescribe a nifty concoction for a non-existent ailment?” asked Eric Ng’eno, Kenyatta’s speechwriter,in his own op-ed.

Sadly, the ailment is a little more concrete than Ng’eno would have his audience believe.

The “I paid a bribe” website set up by Kenyan activist Anthony Ragui, which crowd-sources its data by inviting ordinary Kenyans to inform on sleazy officialdom, may offer a fascinating glimpse into the routine palm-greasing that characterizes daily encounters with the police, ministries, and municipal authorities. But it is grand corruption–the kind practiced by business cartels enjoying chummy relationships with top politicians and civil servants who control public tendering–that worries economists, newspaper editors, and anti-corruption campaigners.

That form of sleaze, they warn, is raging so unchecked that it threatens to render Kenya’s promised 6 percent growth rate irrelevant, sabotaging the “Africa Rising” narrative that decrees an expanding middle class, combined with increased investor confidence, Chinese-built infrastructure, and an educated work force, is set to trigger takeoff. It also makes Kenya, long seen in the West as a strategic bulwark against Islamic terrorism radiating from the Horn of Africa, an unreliable partner.

When the Supreme Court confirmed Kenyatta’s contested electoral win in March 2013, many Kenyans comforted themselves with the notion that the economy was safe in the hands of the same ethnic Kikuyu and Kalenjin elite that has dominated the economy since the days of Uhuru’s father, Jomo Kenyatta, and his successor, Daniel arap Moi. Although the problem is in fact one of elites writ large, Kenyan corruption is traditionally viewed in terms of economic rivalry among the country’s main ethnic groups. A presidency under ethnic Luo contender Raila Odinga, the argument went back in 2013, carried the risk of unprecedented “eating” by a long-sidelined group, hungry for the perks of office. “There was definitely a narrative doing the rounds that the country couldn’t ‘afford’ a Raila election win, whereas these guys [Kenyatta and his allies] had already made their fortunes and their appetites would be smaller,” says one Western diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity.

It was an argument that mistook the nature of human greed, argues John Githongo, who resigned as Kenya’s anti-corruption czar in 2005 after stumbling upon a $1 billion procurement scam. “It doesn’t work like that,” he said. “When you have one million you want 10 million, and when you have 10 you want 20. It’s never enough.”


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  • “Everyone is corrupt in Kenya, even grandmothers.”

    28-year old women can be corrupt.

  • E_Pluribus_Pluribus

    Nicholas Wade in A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History:

    “The thesis presented here assumes . . . that there is a genetic component to human social behavior; that this component, so critical to human survival, is subject to evolutionary change and has indeed evolved over time; that the evolution in social behavior has necessarily proceeded independently in the five major races and others; and that slight evolutionary differences in social behavior underlie the differences in social institutions prevalent among the major human populations.”

    There are difference in “social institutions prevalent among” whites versus blacks. Could differing “genetic components” be a reason?

    • Einsatzgrenadier

      Liberals assume that social reality in western countries somehow exists independently of the people in those societies. In other words, we will always have an economically prosperous, democratic 1st world society regardless of whether the population is 10% bantu or 100% bantu. In the 19th century, it was understood that traditional societies are organic wholes which, by virtue of their organic character, must exclude incompatible influences in order to survive and perpetuate themselves indefinitely. According to this view, the institutions of traditional societies were a reflection of the innate disposition of the majority population. Given the disastrous consequences of the fairly recent liberal social engineering project, which is stubbornly continued despite mounting evidence of failure, it would seem that yesteryear was a golden age of common sense. The Victorians were indeed far more evolved than post-modern man.

      • E_Pluribus_Pluribus

        I stumbled on a 2011 New Scientist edition that had about 6-8 pages on Darwinian ”group selection” (well understood in the late 19th and early 20th century but driven out of “respectable” evolutionary theory from the 1960s until roughly the 1990s. The pressure was on academics to explain altruism as some form of “self-interest”)
        Now “group selection” (another way of thinking about societies as “organic wholes”) is firmly established. Genetically, speaking, “group selection” is under way as we speak. And our group is being selected

        • Peter Connor

          Group selection, of course, is nonsense, as is readily proved by a little math. Most anthropologists being innumerate, they concoct this stuff. The West is less corrupt because it is outbred and much less clannish, as well as more intelligent.

          • E_Pluribus_Pluribus

            Poor innumerate fool Darwin was so dumb he believed in “group selection”. Wikipedia:

            “In 1871, Darwin argued that group selection will occur when the benefits of cooperation or altruism between subpopulations are greater than the individual benefits of egotism within a subpopulation.”

          • Peter Connor

            One of the several things on which Darwin was wrong, and he was indeed somewhat innumerate. Darwin also wrongly believed in gradual, continuous evolution, and failed to fully understand the role that changes in environment made in accelerating or decelerating Natural Selection.

          • E_Pluribus_Pluribus

            There are strong ideological reasons for leftists to assert that race is a “social construct” and that human evolution stopped 40,000 years ago. There are equally strong ideological reasons claim that Darwin was wrong about group selection.
            Maybe you will succeed in convincing someone you know more than did Darwin about the mechanisms of natural selection.

      • So CAL Snowman

        “Liberals assume that social reality in western countries somehow exists
        independently of the people in those societies. In other words, we will
        always have an economically prosperous, democratic 1st world society
        regardless of whether the population is 10% bantu or 100% bantu.”

        Liberals believe in magic and fairy tales. To them the USA is a magic land out of a Harry Potter novel.

        • LHathaway

          First we believe in ‘blood and soil’ and in the old Gods. And then we don’t

      • Pro_Whitey

        Another example of what once was known that is now unknown, erased from our memories and books by malevolent forces.

  • DudeWheresMyCountry?

    It amazes me that a group as thoroughly worthless as the Black African is breeding at such an alarming rate. They are shameless cockroaches, nothing more.

    • Much of their “breeding” and large populations are the result of Western aid. Their populations would not have been so large had the West not interfered with ‘humanitarian aid.’ The natural course of things would have done its job a long time ago. But now they’re forever dependent on the white man’s aid and sustenance. As a result, they will never mature as a people and develop as a nation(s).

      This is, in part, why ‘humanitarian aid’ – though well-intentioned perhaps – is so disastrous in the long run. It turns every nation and people that receive it into a perpetual welfare state and EBT recipient.

      • DudeWheresMyCountry?

        The extreme overpopulation of the third-world is in many ways the fault of the West. When idiot idealists speak of helping the needy Africans I ask, why do you hate those people so much? Leave them alone.

        • Ahnenerbe

          The UN and bio-tech companies need to develop a genetically modified rice to feed the Africans causing sterilization

      • Fair Dinkum

        Quite correct. We are not their saviors, we are their enablers.

    • LHathaway

      cockroaches that will eventually squash you. Good luck with your ‘worthless’ narrative as an explanation after you have been over come by this ‘ignorant’ group.

      • DudeWheresMyCountry?

        Your ignorant and utterly inferior and useless group will never run anything, those who could not create civilization will never be able to sustain it. They can’t build a house worth living in. They only run what they are allowed to run, and badly. Even their own countries they don’t really run, they just wade in their failures and wait for other people’s money and ideas. Please, come save our little breeders in Nigeria from our own! Come bail us out in Detroit! Save us, the Earth shook in Haiti! Pathetic animals. Nothing more. Nice try though, play again. Know your place African… at the bottom.

    • Nancy

      They reproduce only as a an incidental by-product of their hyper-driven, indiscriminate sexual behavior. I’m quite convinced that, if by some bizarre change in biology, blacks suddenly stopped producing baby blacks and instead began popping out six-legged purple fuzzy creatures with three eyes and two heads, we’d be overrun with those things within a decade. (And probably have an Affirmative Action plan in place for the little monsters, too.)

      It has nothing to do with pride in their offspring, or a desire to see their family name be carried on into the future.

  • dd121

    Of course they’re corrupt, they’re black. Anyone with one eye can see that corruption anywhere you see them, anywhere in the world.

    • sbuffalonative

      Black neighborhoods, black schools, black nations.

      Black behavior and black failure are universal.

  • Frank_DeScushin

    The most hilarious part of the Kenyan mall siege last year was the revelation that it took so long for the Kenyan Army to rescue any hostages and clear the Islamists out of the mall because the Kenyan soldiers were too busy looting the mall stores rather than saving lives.

    The international media did its best to downplay that startling revelation.

    • texasoysterman

      Hilarious, yes.
      Startling, not really.

  • Cannot Tell

    Corruption fascinates me. I’m not an evolutionary psychologist, but I think it comes down to whether your ancestors needed to be able to trust each other and cooperate to survive. I’ve long accepted the theory that Europeans evolved the ability to cooperate because of harsh winters, but that doesn’t explain the high amount of corruption in Eastern Europe.

    • kjh64

      True, and there is plenty of corruption among White rulers in the USA. It is this corruption, both among conservative politicians and Whites in big business and liberal politicians, that is ruining America. White conservative politicians and those in big business want mass immigration to drive down wages and fill their pockets, the liberal White politicians want it to keep their power through more 3rd world voters.

      • Bill Moore


        I don’t know how it is over the rest of the USA, but I have been robbed twice by the local and state police. I live in Butler, PA.

        And the local agencies are not at all secret about requiring a bribe for any permit that is needed.

        Thank you,
        Bill Moore

        • LHathaway

          Got a traffic ticket, did you?


          • Bill Moore

            Hello LHathaway,

            No, not a traffic ticket.

            The most recent one: I was stopped at a drunk driver checkpoint in Butler, PA. I was with my girlfriend. There were a dozen cops. They asked me to get out of the car and go across the street to a parking lot. While they were questioning me (with my back to my car), others took my girlfriend out of the car took her some distance from my car. Two others searched my car, and brought my pistol to me and asked for my permit, which I showed to them. After a half hour or so, we were permitted to leave. I looked in the glove box for my for the envelope I keep in there with three $20 bills in it. It was gone – the cops stole it.

            Another one: I was working the evening shift at a TV station. My teenage son was at home alone, sitting on the couch watching TV and eating dinner. A knock on the door, he opened the door, and a group of state, county and local cops forced their way in. They pushed him onto the couch, and two of them made him stay there while they backed a van up to my garage door. Since I had worked in construction for twenty years, I had about $20,000 worth of tools in the garage. They loaded up compressors, drilling machines, saws, generators, and other tools worth about $15,000 and left.

            The next morning, I went to the state police barracks in Butler, PA and asked about the tools. They told me that they had them in a shed behind the barracks. I asked them why they took my tools, and they would not answer me. I asked for my tools back, and they would not answer me.

            I contacted an attorney, and paid him to represent me. We had a hearing before a judge. The judge issued a court order for the state police to return my tools to me (all of this took about six months).

            I took my court order to the state police barracks. Standing in front of the bullet-proof glass (apparently I was not the first angry citizen to come in there), the woman asked me to hand over the court order. I told her no, and held it up to the glass so she could read it (if I had handed it to her, I believe that she would disappear with it, and I would have to go back and get another).

            She told me that an officer would take me out back to pick up my tools. I had a truck with me to carry the tools. I turned around, and I was completely surrounded by about twenty-five state police. I suppose that they were trying to intimidate me, but I was in the US Army in a war zone for two years, and have been in a similar situation (by myself) with enemy soldiers with machine guns aimed at me, so I was not intimidated – but it was meant to intimidate a normal citizen.

            Two of the state police officers accompanied me to the shed. It was about ten feet by ten feet, was highly weathered, and when I went inside, it was empty except for a small cardboard carton on an old kitchen chair. The two police came in and closed the door.

            I looked into the cardboard carton, and there about eight small rusted hand tools (pliers, a screwdriver with the end broken, etc), apparently tools that none of the police wanted. I reached in and picked them up in one hand, and was about to leave. The police blocked the door, and told me that I could only leave with the tools that I could identify as mine. I showed them two with my name on them, and they told me that I could not take them because there might be other persons with the name “Bill Moore”. Four of the tools had my PA license number on them, and I was allowed to take them. I put them in my pocket and left.

            While in the shed, I believe that the state police intended to give me a good beating, and were trying to anger me to the point where they could use my anger as an excuse to beat me up, but I kept my cool and escaped without incident.

            Thanks for asking,
            Bill Moore

      • Nancy

        I also think, though, that “corruption” as valued or condemned by a people largely differentiates the more cooperative from the less. What I mean is this: When reading articles about Kenyan/Nigerian government, I often read about the citizens being demoralized and angry about the level of dishonesty and double-dealing, just as they are fed up with each other (hence the “corrupt grandmother” comment). But in many of these black/brown cultures, being sneaky and double-dealing isn’t frowned upon at sll…it’s admired, so long as you don’t do it to your own family (nepotism trumps integrity). I saw this myself when I traveled to north Africa and the Middle East 20 years ago.

        • tlk244182

          Last year I was taking a course at a local CC, and we were shown a movie about Black drug addicts in Baltimore. In the movie, Shaniqua pretends to be pregnant and tells her bf that she needs $200 for an abortion; he tells his mother he needs $400 for Shaniqua’s abortion; and she tells her brother she needs $600 for Shaniqua’s abortion. All the Black students, twenty-somethings and up, were laughing heartily. Apparently they didn’t think it was racist.

    • I suspect the corruption in Eastern Europe is a hangover from the communist days. The only businessmen in a communist nation are “criminals” under that ideology, so genuine criminals were attracted to business, and they’re still there.

    • LHathaway

      I tend so see things more social than biological. I’m going to chalk this up to ‘economics’, however. I suspect corruption is very much more likely when folks who work fairly good middle class job do not earn enough to feed and houses themselves properly. This probably isn’t all there is to it, no doubt, but I suspect it is a condition. Whites, with their internalized ‘white supremacy idea’ may be particularly immune to it. Africans, too, one would suspect, would be more immune to it. Don’t all Africans know they are superior to Whites, those guilty, greedy ones?

      • Cannot Tell

        Having read the book The Perils of Diversity by Byron Roth I tend to view corruption through the lenses of biology. For example, Roth theorized in his book that the reason Africans are more inclined to nepotism than Europeans is because there is less need for high cognitive ability for jobs in their society. Europeans, on the other hand, had to choose the best person for the job and could not afford to ignore merit.

        • LHathaway

          it’s good you read so much.

  • JohnEngelman

    Negroes were well suited for the tribal, neolithic society that existed in sub Saharan Africa a century and a half ago. Unfortunately, that hardly exists any more. Now they are trying with little success to adopt Western civilization.

    Civilized people evolve under civilization, but it takes many generations.

    • DudeWheresMyCountry?

      No. They are not viable. They have had ample time. They are dumb, violent and bitter and 10,000 more years of civilization won’t change that. Before that would happen they would devolve the civilization. US, case in point. If the last 50 years has taught us anything it is that the African has no interest in self improvement; only to find the path of least resistance. Civilizations are not built that way, Stone Age tribes are.

      • JohnEngelman

        The German barbarians described two thousand years ago by Julius Caesar and Tacitus resembled the Bantu in many respects.

        Civilized Romans saw the Germans as having traits such as “crudelitas (cruelty), feritas (wildness), immanitas (savagery),inhumanitas (inhumanity), impietas (impiety), ferocitas (ferocity), furor (fury), and discordia(discord).”

        Civilization breeds civilized people by selecting for intelligence, and by removing those who are physically aggressive from the gene pool. European rule of sub Saharan Africa ended centuries too soon.

        Negroes have more genetic diversity than whites, so they can evolve faster.

        • DudeWheresMyCountry?

          Tell you what, why don’t you live amongst Blacks and help their fast evolving brains? You avoid Blacks like the plague and if you didn’t you wouldn’t last a Camden night. You compared Germanic people to Africans so let’s tally the score, tell me who has accomplished more? Let me know when you go buy that chronometer or luxury car in Africa. Or hey why not go visit that partical collider in Uganda? Also, why don’t you tell us about what The Romans thought of the Hebrews? It was all love and cuddles right? Keep in mind Germanic people conquered Rome. Read about the battles of Tuetenburg Forest or Adrianople. You truly are the most self loathing man around, you put Tim Wise to shame. And in case you didn’t figure it out I will let you in on something; nobody here cares what you think.

          • Easyrhino1

            Actually Werner Von Braun was really an African.

          • dd121

            As the Roman virtues declined, other Roman writers wrote glowingly of the finer qualities of the German and Northern “barbarians”. The point was to try to inspire Romans to recapture those virtues. Of course, they never did.

          • saxonsun

            Listen, I like the Germans too but they were that way. There’s no two ways around it.

        • Bill Moore


          When the well-armed Roman soldiers attacked the wild and wooly Germans, the Germans used clubs to destroy the Roman army.

          The Germans split logs into eighths, sharpened the edge of the wedge, carved a handle, and just clobbered the Roman soldiers with the sharpened edge of their eight foot clubs.

          I can understand why the Roman soldiers had only nasty things to say about the German warriors.

          Bill Moore

          • JohnEngelman

            Julius Caesar defeated German tribesmen when they invaded Gaul.

          • Bill Moore

            Hello JohnEngleman,

            The Germans defeated the Romans when they invaded Germany.

            Bill Moore

          • JohnEngelman

            The Germans and the Romans maintained parity until the end of the Western Roman Empire.

          • Bill Moore

            Hello JohnEngleman,

            Now you’ve piqued my curiosity.

            Could I possibly be wrong?

            I was only wrong once, and that was the time that I thought I was wrong, but later I found out that I was really right.

            Thank you,
            Bill Moore

          • benvad

            Romans never conquered Germania

        • Ahnenerbe

          Julius Caesar’s personal bodyguard was mostly comprised of Germanic tribesmen. They may have been ferocious but Honor was a high virtue of Germans and if they made a oath it was a bond of steel

        • Grantland

          You lie.

    • LHathaway

      Their economy seems to be growing at a rate of 6% a year. You should really expand your ‘fact checking’?

      Also, when will you read an American newspaper article that is as honest as this one?

  • sbuffalonative

    In the book, “Out of America: A Black Man Confronts Africa”, the author tells a joke about African corruption. I can’t find the whole joke but here’s a summation:

    The joke compares corruption in Asia and Africa. In Asia, the
    jokes says, a corrupt minister points to a new highway and power plant
    being built, and boasts that he gets “50 percent.” In Africa, according
    to the joke, a corrupt African minister points to an empty field and remarks that he gets “100 percent” — meaning in Africa, the highway and
    the power plant never get built.

    The point of the joke is that all nations have some degree of corruption. There may be corruption in Western and Asian nations but in the end, SOMETHING gets built while in Africa, corruption is absolute and nothing is ever built.

    • LHathaway

      Sounds like you are describing America, and not Africa.

  • evilsandmich

    Kind of a non-story in the U.S. since we’re very well acquainted with corrupt, incompetent Kenyen rule.

  • IKUredux

    Apparently, the future history of the U.S. has already been decided.Unless…Rebel! Fight!

  • IKUredux

    Guess what? I didn’t read the article. i didn’t have to. DNA speaks for itself. Seriously, why are we supposed to ignore the fact that Blacks look like Apes, gorillas? We know they do, Blacks know they do, that’s why they are offended by the comparison. Why are we sugar coating the fact that Blacks are stupid and are the closest relative to gorillas and apes? My God, look at their palms and the bottoms of their feet! They are alike! Noticing is not racist. The left wants you to think that NOTICING racial differences is racist. Puhlease, everybody notices racial differences. Racial differences dictate the kind of society you create. Period. Whites have created what used to be the United States. Who the hell thinks that once the United States of America is taken over by Mexicans and other crap humans, it will remain the same country? Do you really think these pathetic losers from south of the border are going to succeed because they migrated 500 miles? HELLO WORLD!!! There is no magic ju ju in White countries! There is simply, White people. Smart, hardworking, enterprising, you know, everything YOU ARE NOT!!!

    • Bill Moore

      Hello IKUredux,

      Wow! With that paragraph, you could start an intelligent conversation about race in the USA.

      OK, let’s hear an intelligent rebuttal by the non-whites to the facts presented by IKUredux.

      Thank you,
      Bill Moore

    • LHathaway

      They are going to succeed because they will have taken your first rate, technologically advanced nation and stolen it away from you. Good luck with being ‘smart, hard working and enterprising’ in your new nation. You’re going to need luck. Prove that your whiteness can do it again.

    • benvad

      Now our only problem is to convince all whites to notice the truth.

  • Leonor Bosman

    Everyone is corrupt in Kenia, Ghana, Nigeria, DRC, CAR, Lesotho, Swziland, South Africa, Tanzania ……………………………………………………………………………….and now I am bored.

  • dcc2379

    We have our own Kenyan to prove this.

  • Grantland

    “They therefore live in a state of chastity well secured; corrupted by no seducing shows and public diversions, by no irritations from banqueting. Of learning and of any secret intercourse by letters, they are all equally ignorant, men and women. Amongst a people so numerous, adultery is exceeding rare; a crime instantly punished, and the punishment left to be inflicted by the husband. He, having cut off her hair, expells her from his house naked, in presence of her kindred, and pursues her with stripes throughout the village. For, to a woman who has prostituted her person, no pardon is ever granted. However beautiful she be, however young, however abounding in wealth, a husband she can never find. In truth, nobody turns vices into mirth there, nor is the practice of corrupting and of yielding to corruption, called the custom of the Age. Better still do those communities, in which none but virgins marry, and where to a single marriage all their views and inclinations are at once confined. Thus, as they have but one body and one life, they take but one husband, that beyond him they may have no thought, no further wishes, nor love him only as their husband but as their marriage.(6) To restrain generation and the increase of children, is esteemed an abominable sin, as also to kill infants newly born. And more powerful with them are good manners, than with other people are good laws.”

    Tacitus’ Germania