Anticorruption Conference in Brazil-Speech and photo

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Below is a speech on anticorruption given at 15th Session of the International Anticorruption Conference in Brazil by Nathan Wangusi Founder and Executive Director of Kuhonga.

 

Speech to the 15th Session of the International Anticorruption Conference

7th-11th November 2012

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Session: Fighting corruption-Online tools and best practices

I am honored to be here to represent the collective voices of the Kenyan people both at home
and abroad clamoring for changes in their country’s governance by speaking up against both
petty and grand corruption. My name is Nathan Wangusi- Founder and Executive Director of
Kuhonga.

The word Kuhonga means “to bribe” in Swahili. Kuhonga is a based on the Ushahidi platform
that allows for real time reporting and mapping of corruption incidents via various channels
including Twitter, Facebook, email, mobile app and SMS. We have partnered with the Africa
Center for Open Governance (AfriCOG) an existing nonprofit that works to improve governance
and support anti-corruption efforts in Kenya.

You will be interested to know that I began Kuhonga because of being victimized by graft. On
a trip back to Kenya and during my stay I was solicited to pay bribes to renew my passport at
the consulate, to obtain a yellow fever certificate at the health department in the airport, by ports
authority officials and by traffic police. The most curious incident I experienced that captures the
extent and irony of these unscrupulous networks occurred when I was stopped by Nairobi city
council officials for allegedly jaywalking on my way to register Kuhonga with the NGO Council.
They solicited and I responded that I am on the way to register an anticorruption agency. To
track corrupt government officials like you! They quietly vanished into the crowd!

In this session I will focus on lessons I have learnt on engagement with government, civil
society, enforcement agencies and citizens. Any technology is inadequate if it lacks the human
networks to support it.

Let me conclude my opening remarks by saying that I am learning that there is a philosophical
and cultural foundation for the existence and proliferation of corruption. Anonymity in reporting
combats this to some extent. The fight against corruption and impunity therefore needs to
be focused by strategically directing resources to enforcement but in interrupting the webs
of patronage and fundamentally changing cultural norms and mindsets that allow graft to
persist. I will leave you with a quote from the Kenyan anticorruption anthem that was sang by
Eric Wanaina. He sing “Nchi ya kitu kidogo, ni nchi ya watu wadogo”, that a nation of petty
corruption is a nation of narrow minded people.

Nathan Wangusi can be contacted at:
Email: [email protected]

 

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