Kenya fires anti-corruption chief

Kenyans demonstrate against corruption on February 17, 2010 to vent their anger at a coalition government slowly falling apart over graft allegations and its inability to further key reforms pledged two years ago. Shouting "We want political accountability," the handfull of demonstrators marched city streets to end up at the president's office where they demanded that two ministers accused of graft be suspended and charged. (Simon Maina/AFP/Getty Images)

NAIROBI, Kenya — It doesn’t pay to fight corruption in Kenya, a country that regularly bottoms out lists of the world’s most corrupt countries.

Ask John Githongo, who faced death threats and was forced into exile when he was the country’s anti-corruption chief.

Or ask Patrick Lumumba, the latest victim of Kenyan lawmakers’ determined efforts to block accountability.

On Monday Lumumba and four other senior officials at the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission (KACC) were fired after Parliament passed a bill establishing a new ‘Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission’ thus removing the leadership of the now-defunct KACC.

Lumumba had upset MPs with his dogged — and very public — pursuit of corrupt politicians.

In a parliamentary debate last week one minister, Charity Ngilu, who has been investigated by the KACC, said of Lumumba: "If the current person who is sitting as the director [of KACC] was going to be given [prosecution] powers I do not think there would be anybody sitting in this Parliament."

The comment was meant as a criticism of Lumumba but sounded rather more like an admission of guilt.