Invest in credible polls, Raila tells Africa leaders

The former prime minister said the continent’s social and economic future rested with embracing democracy and fighting corruption “openly and honestly”.

“It is not a matter of creating new anti-corruption institutions or revamping the existing ones. The key is a president or a prime minister who is genuinely committed to eradicating corruption, commands the trust and confidence of the people and is prepared to lead from the top,” Raila told an audience at Nnamdi Azikiwe University in Nigeria on Wednesday.

He said the wind of change that removed Africa from single-party regimes to competitive politics proved that democracy ensured that public goods and resources were put to better use by governments.

Delivering a public lecture at the university in Anambra State, the CORD leader said credible elections required the establishment of electoral institutions that all competitors could believe in.

Already, Kenya’s Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission selection panel has shortlisted five contestants for the chairperson’s post in the yet to be re-constituted commission.


Speaking on the subject, ‘The Crisis of Nation State in Africa’, at the fifth Zik Lecture series at the university named after Nigeria’s founding President Nnamdi Azikiwe, Raila said reversals in the momentum towards democracy were fuelling new corruption and killing hopes across the continent.

Citing a study just published by the Pew Research Center, he said economic sentiments had turned sharply negative in South Africa and Nigeria since 2015.

“Around 74 per cent of South Africans and Nigerians now say they are unhappy with the way things are going and their economies are in bad shape while in Kenya, government corruption tops at 91 per cent,” he said.

“The Pew Research Center survey indicates many in these three countries believe the political and economic system is stacked against them.”


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