Kenya's Mr. Clean

For those who say corruption is impossible to root out in Latin America, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, Kenya is an example of the possible.

In the two short months since the election of Mwai Kibaki as Kenya's president, bribery and political favoritism are decidedly out of favor.

The change started at the top. Mr. Kibaki, a political Mr. Clean, immediately began scouring the corruption grime built up over 25 years by his predecessor, Daniel arap Moi.

Kibaki's administration has reclaimed public land given out to ministers in the old regime. His minister of public works is looking into waste and fraud in contracts awarded under the previous government. The new minister of tourism and information actually declined a government broadcasting license issued to his private business because it represented a conflict of interest.

The population won't stand for corruption anymore, either. People are refusing to pay police bribes. Sometimes they even chase down bribe- soliciting officers - occasionally grabbing the ill-gotten money from their pockets and giving it to passersby.

The lesson here is that a two-pronged approach - commitment from the top and the bottom - can indeed prove to be an effective assault on corruption. With no benefactors and no customers, those in the bribery business have no choice but to close up shop.

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