Organisation name: Africa Centre for Open Governance (AfriCOG)
Name of organisation’s representative: Gladwell OTIENO
Membership type: Member Organisation
Which seat are you nominating for? Sub-Saharan Africa
The Africa Centre for Open Governance (AfriCOG), based in Kenya, has been a member of UNCAC since its origins around 2006, when it was the Civil Society Friends of UNCAC coalition and has consistently engaged in UNCAC related activities, including pushing for its implementation and that of the AU Convention on the prevention of corruption, and asset recovery and related legislation at various levels.
AfriCOG has been at the forefront in monitoring the performance of government including the Kenya Anti Corruption Authority (KACC). In 2009, AfriCOG published the report Five years On: How effective is the KACC in Kenya’s Fight Against Corruption? This report discussed and highlighted shortcomings in the investigation and prevention of corruption, asset recovery and public education functions of KACC. http://www.africog.org/reports/KACC.pdf An updated analysis of the performance of the successor commission, the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission is in production.
AfriCOG has also published reports and conducted public advocacy on Kenyan corruption scandals. One study highlighted the institutional and governance weaknesses that saw Kenya’s food security worsened due to politicians’ profiteering from subsidized maize as well as the oil scandal. A study on a major money-laundering scandal is being finalised, as are others.
AfriCOG was involved in editing the “Kenya: UN Convention against Corruption Gap Analysis Report and Implementation Plan”, which highlighted the Kenya’s level of compliance with UNCAC and made recommendations for legislative, policy and institutional reforms for full compliance with the provisions of UNCAC.
Other studies carried out by AfriCOG recently include Delivering on Devolution? Which appraises the financial management performance of new county governments, which came into existence after the last elections. Kenya has recently discovered oil and other mineral in commercially interesting amounts. The new report Mixed Blessing looks at ways of promoting transparency in the management of Kenya’s extractive industries and avoiding the pitfalls of the “resource curse”.
AfriCOG provided research on electoral issues for the Kenyans for Peace with Truth and Justice (KPTJ) coalition for which it provides the Secretariat, among others reports and analysis such as Voter Registration and Not so Final? Which analyses the shortcomings in the conduct of the last elections and makes recommendations for reform to avoid future conflict and a possible relapse into the violence that characterised the 2007 elections. In March 2013, AfriCOG also challenged the management of the elections by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, our electoral management body. Although the Supreme Court decided against the petition, it found that the IEBC was probably culpable of criminal conduct in the management of procurement processes and should be investigated. Recently, AfriCOG worked together with Corruption Watch UK to appeal to the Serious Fraud Office to present our views on the real impact of corruption in the electoral procurement process by the forerunner of the IEBC and the need to take this into account in the sentencing phase and confiscation hearing against Smith and Ouzman Ltd., who were found guilty of bribery of foreign officials.
AfriCOG is an independent, non-profit making organisation with a mandate to provide cutting edge research on governance and public ethics issues and, monitor governance fundamentals in both the government and the private sector.
AfriCOG’s governance and anti-corruption reform initiatives are aimed at addressing the structural causes of Kenya’s governance crisis by a knowledgeable citizenry.
AfriCOG’s mission is to be a leading think tank that will stimulate, influence and encourage society to address corruption and bad governance. To this end, AfriCOG engages in innovative information and knowledge brokerage, holistic capacity building, quality research, effective mobilization and vigilant monitoring and by retooling civil society to respond in a more sophisticated manner to complex governance problems.
AfriCOG’s vision is of a Kenya in which civic vigilance over the management of public affairs is a permanent part of our national culture and in so doing, pushes for increased access to information on all matters of public interest. The objectives of AfriCOG, therefore, are to maintain and empower civic vigilance.
AfriCOG also hosts the development of new CSOs and is a leading partners with the following coalitions: the Kenyans for Peace Truth and Justice (KPTJ), a coalition monitoring accountability and implementation of mediation agreement after the post-election violence of 2008. AfriCOG facilitated the work of Mzalendo, a website monitoring Parliament’s performance, which is now an independent organisation and of The Institute for Social Accountability, which has also grown into an independent national organisation.
I have been involved in anti-corruption work since the late 90’s when I joined TI in Berlin. I later led TI-Kenya, which I left in 2005. This article also provides a little more background.
I then founded AfriCOG. I have written and worked extensively on anti-corruption over the years. During this time I have contributed to holding government to account in various ways.
In this article I reviewed Kenya’s anti-corruption programme under Kibaki’s NARC Rainbow government.
In November 2010, I moderated the “UNCAC Special Session: The Global Realpolitik of UNCAC Accountability” at the 14th International Anti Corruption Convention (IACC) in Bangkok, Thailand.
In 2007, I moderated a session on implementation of regional anti-corruption conventions at the African Forum on Fighting Corruption, preparatory session to the Global Forum in South Africa. I also served on the International Programme Committee of the 12th International Anti-Corruption Conference, held in Guatemala in 2006. I was a member of the founding steering committee of the Open Government Partnership, with which I remain closely associated. I am a member of the board of the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime. I am also Vice Chairperson of the African Leadership Centre which aims to form a cadre of qualified young pan-Africans dedicated to driving peace, security and development on the African continent.
I have evaluated or provided advisory services on anti-corruption to international partners and governments including the African Parliamentarians Network Against Corruption (APNAC), Sierra Leone, Zambia, South Africa, Malawi and Zimbabwe and their respective anti corruption agencies; the OECD, DFID, UNDP, UNAMA and World Bank.