Kenya poll on corruption says problem continues

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NAIROBI, Kenya — Most Kenyans believe frustration over corruption runs so deeply it will contribute to violence at the next elections in 2012, according to a poll released Monday by an anti-corruption watchdog.

NAIROBI, Kenya — Most Kenyans believe frustration over corruption runs so deeply it will contribute to violence at the next elections in 2012, according to a poll released Monday by an anti-corruption watchdog. Transparency International’s survey showed nearly two-thirds of Kenyans believe the violence will be worse than the last round of clashes that rocked the country. More than 1,000 people died following the disputed presidential elections in 2007 and 600,000 were displaced. Thousands have still not returned home and the fractious coalition government is squabbling over a series of agriculture, food, security and tourism scandals. The telephone poll of 1,000 Kenyans in five cities also showed around half wanted new elections and that concern over parliamentary corruption was so deep only 62 legislators out of the 210 would retain their seats if new elections were held immediately. Parliament was ranked as the most corrupt political institution, followed by the judiciary and then the executive. The survey was conducted between Feb. 23 and March 3 with a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points. Job Ogonda, who heads the Kenyan chapter of Transparency International, said a previous survey reported 93 percent of Kenyans interacting with police had met with a demand for a bribe. So people were turning to militias instead of the courts when they had a problem, he said. "If institutions as powerful as the police demand bribes from citizens, citizens will begin to seek alternative systems of justice," he warned. "One of the ways we have seen this proliferating is vigilante groups … these are symptomatic of lack of confidence in the conventional systems of justice." Kenyan police are already battling a handful of deadly gangs, among them the Mungiki, but rights groups say officers often execute their victims instead of arresting them. The group says Kenya is one of the most corrupt countries in the world, ranked 147 out of 190. ______ Copyright 2009 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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