Levels of criminality in East Africa highest in Kenya, says report

Levels of criminality in the country are rising, while the resilience among the populace is dropping, creating a toxic mix that could test state institutions.

This revelation was made during the launch of the Africa Organised Crime Index in Nairobi.

The index, developed by Enact, highlights the levels of crime and also ranks countries in the different crime sectors.

Kenya is the worst country in the East Africa region, coming first among the nine countries.

The country is the 4th in Africa with heroin trade, human trafficking, arms trafficking and cyber-dependent crimes among the worst crimes in the region and continent.

In the heroin trade, the country ties with South Africa at the top. On criminal markets, only Nigeria scores worse than Kenya.

Speaking during the launch, Gladwell Otieno, the executive director of Africa Centre for Open Governance, said there is a need for the continent to look into building resilience and that leaders should embrace the index instead if looking at it as a harsh criticism.

“Criminality is rising, and resilience is dropping, marking a worrying trend. The tool should help any self-confident leader to push for changes in a rational manner,” she said.

Dr Luchetu Likaka, the director, of Security Expertise Criminologue, was more critical of the role of state actors in the rising levels of criminality.

The situation, he said, is worsened by the complicity between investigators, prosecutors, and politicians.

President William Ruto’s admission in the National Security report he presented to Parliament during the State of the Nation address that cybercrimes have escalated, post-election related crimes are becoming worse and that general crime went up by more than 16 per cent, lends credence to the conclusions of the crime index report.

Mr Halkano Wario of East Africa Regional Organised Crime Observatory Coordinator, said while the state actors hold a bigger responsibility on matters crime, it would be prudent to look at the private sector actors because they are at the heart of some of these crimes.

“We need to look at bankers, lawyers, and others who facilitate the movement of illicit money,” he said.

He warned that the political instability and state fragility that is on the rise in the continent will only reduce resilience among the people as crime levels soar.

The report reveals the continuing rise of organized crime, with 83 per cent of the world’s population living in conditions of high criminality.

The index has introduced five new indicators to measure criminal activity: Financial crimes, cyber-dependent crimes, illicit trade in excise goods, counterfeit goods, extortion and protection racketeering.

Other indicators are political leadership and governance, anti-money laundering policies and national security.   

Source: The Standard

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