The study by Transparency International Kenya (TI-Kenya) has shown that majority of Kenyans would take a bribe from a politician, irrespective of whether it would influence one’s voting decision or not.
The study indicated that 59 per cent of Kenyan respondents, selected randomly across the country, would willingly accept a bribe from those contesting in an election.
Sheila Masinde TI-Kenya Executive Director said that observed strict regulations on campaign financing would help curb voter bribery. She added that without transparency and accountability on the sources of campaign funds and spending limits, voter bribery and the culture of handouts from politicians will continue unabated.
The study, called ‘My Leader, My Choice: Citizens’ Perception of Ethical Leadership in Kenya’, was to establish citizens’ perceptions, attitudes and opinions on ethical leadership and to understand Kenyans’ perception of their role in promoting ethical leadership in the country.
The research indicted that a majority of respondents identified with qualities of good and ethical leadership as a benchmark to elect one to a public office. Additionally, it showed that eighty-two per cent of the respondents indicated that they were either ‘very unlikely’ or ‘unlikely’ to vote for candidates with a history of corruption.
The study recommended that to promote integrity in leadership in the country, relevant government agencies should be mandated to promote ethical leadership and prioritize sensitization of the public in constitutional, legal and institutional frameworks that advocate for ethical leadership. Also recommended is the need to harmonize and streamline mechanisms of clearing candidates aspiring to contest for political office.
The study called for IEBC be the final institution to clear candidates for elective leadership positions after vetting by other institutions and government departments such as DCI on criminal records, KRA on tax compliance and EACC on integrity concerns, among others.
The Kenyan Bribery Act 2016 was enacted to provide for the prevention, investigation and punishment of bribery. The Act provides general bribery offences that include giving a bribe, receiving a bribe, bribery of foreign public official and function and activities that relate to a bribe. The penalty to this offence is conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years, or to a fine not exceeding five million shillings, or both. In addition, the Courts may impose an additional mandatory fine if the person incurred quantifiable loss or benefit.
It is indeed a hefty price to pay!