Government has made significant strides
By Martha Karua
When we took office, the economy had ground to a halt and there was a general breakdown of law and order.
Today, we are on course to hit six per cent economic growth. In 2005, the economy grew at 5.8 per cent. By the end of the year, we will have achieved a 200 per cent rise in revenue collection, collecting nearly Sh460 billion in taxes. We are in a position now to finance 95 per cent of our own budget, something that is unique among developing nations.
How many developing countries can boast of such a feat, an almost self-financed budget? The question then is: What are we doing with the extra money? We are building infrastructure and improving livelihoods. We now have water in places where people never believed they would be able to access it. We are on course to meet and surpass the Millennium Development Goals’ targets for delivering portable water.
Improved quality life
In the health sector, 1,000 new dispensaries have been built. On roads, 60 tarmac and concrete ones are under construction and some have been completed. There are plans to construct bypass roads in Nairobi.
We are putting Kenyans’ money to good use. The rise in tax collection has led to improvement in the quality of people’s lives. To place this in context, I will give my constituency, Gichugu, in Kirinyaga as an example. We received only Sh6 million from the Constituency Development Fund in 2003/2004, and with it built a few small bridges. In 2004/2005 financial year, the constituency got Sh23 million, then Sh33 million the following year and Sh43 million this year.
Gichugu now has 44 primary schools and an extra 21 secondary schools (37 up from 16). The constituency received Sh3 million from the Education ministry for bursaries, allowing students who would have fallen by the wayside to continue with education as day scholars.
Have we fought corruption? Yes, we have. But fighting corruption is a process and not an event. It is not something we can eradicate overnight. We are making good progress and doing all in our power to stigmatise it through public education campaigns, and charging perpetrators of corruption.
Corruption is fighting back
There are more than 190 cases pending, brought by the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission. Investigations into high profile cases such as Anglo Leasing are ongoing. Anglo-Leasing involved 18 cases, but only three contracts were signed during the Kibaki administration. The rest relate to the period between 1997 and December, 2002.
Our greatest challenge is the slow pace of investigations and that the speed with which the wheels of justice are turning. We are looking for ways of improving the record. Corruption is fighting back and attempting to capture the State once again. We must not let this happen. We must invest in good leadership that will continue to take us forward. There is a difference today in Kenya, because there is a difference in leadership.
Those who would have you believe that Kenya is not on the right track will talk about tribalism and corruption. Let me remind you that this is the most representative Government since independence. Be sceptical about those shouting loudest about corruption because they do so for political ends. It is a dishonest campaign of political propaganda.
If corruption was at the levels they would have you believe, then why are there huge improvements in growth, infrastructure development and revenue collection? I am not saying we have eradicated corruption, but we have reduced it.
We are winning the war and the gains are obvious for all to see. I implore the Kenyan community overseas to act as ambassadors for the nation.
The writer is the Justice and Constitutional Affairs minister. She spoke to Kenyans in the UKLILA NA FILA HAVITANGAMANI

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