What matters to us -strategic priorities AfriCOG’s strategic priorities are: 1) To conduct research to highlight the structural causes of corruption and its effects on the Kenyan and African people: successive government have mis-diagnosed Kenya’s governance crisis, prescribing superficial solutions to structural problems. Long -term governance reform will not succeed unless structural realities are sustainably addressed; 2) To influence legislation, regulation, public policy and practice through strategic, pre-emptive, governance and anti-corruption interventions and activities including dissemination of information; 3) To reach out to like-minded groups and mobilise new constituencies for reform to counter corruption in Kenya and establish a deeply-rooted culture that rejects corruption and bad governance at all levels.
The environment we work in Kenya is a country in transition. Political and institutional reforms implemented over the past 15 years have largely reduced incidents of extreme human rights and economic abuse that were common in the 1980s and the early 1990s. However, public institutions remain weak. From AfriCOG’s perspective, the problem is structural. Kenya’s mixed presidential/ parliamentary system of government characterised by excessive concentration of power in the Presidency, a weak judiciary and an intermittently independent but frequently delinquent Parliament has resulted in centralised management of public life and unilateral decision-making that is prone to abuse and manipulation. Progress has been made in opening up government.
The promulgation of the new constitution and ongoing efforts to implement it are among important reforms. However, the constitution must be properly implemented; institutions must now rethink their mandates, strategies and approaches, and bringing about a culture of respect for constitutionalism remains a huge challenge. The key challenge has been to turn public institutions away from a prevailing culture of secrecy, endemic corruption and suspicion of non-governmental actors. Public institutions must be encouraged to embrace new values of open government, accountability, trustworthiness and public participation.
Three cross-cutting challenges emerge as central to the necessary reforms:
- Consolidating democracy and restoring trustworthiness in public institutions
- Fostering sustained attention and political will to fight corruption and secure the growth of an open, rule-based economy
- Repairing and strengthening the relationship between government and civil society