Government Corruption in Kenya

Regarding the references to government corruption in the article "Kenya's Economic Woes Hit Hardest in Slums," June 16: I believe the major economic predicament in Kenya, which has continued steadily for decades, is government corruption.

Its long-term effects are obvious: lack of foreign exchange, higher interest rates and therefore increasing inflation. President Daniel arap Moi and his top executives are most likely the main culprits, but the problem of corruption goes even deeper than that. Living in coastal Kenya from 1989 to 1991, I witnessed or heard about myriad acts of corruption at the grass-roots level of government, the most popular being bribery.

For instance, for a village resident to be tapped into an electrical supply he would first have to pay a civil servant to show up at his house or business. Next he would have to pay the civil servant an exorbitant amount to purchase and deliver the related materials. The resident has already paid the appropriate deposit to the concerned office for the initial work, but the civil servant demands additional payment.

Many times the doers of these unfortunate acts go unreprimanded by their supervisors. President Moi's dictatorial government needs a complete overhaul. Following that, if Kenya expects its governing power to be clean of routine, grass-roots level corruption, civil servants must be held accountable for their actions. Michael Elliott, Aurora, Colo.

Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published, subject to condensation, and none acknowledged. Please address them to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115.

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