“Corruption in most countries in Africa, and Kenya in particular, is very rife and in, say, when you talk about the police, and many people actually talk about the ‘kitu kidogo’ in reference to the bribe that is given to a police [officer]. And a police officer will sometimes just ask you directly, ‘wata toa kitu kidogo,’ meaning, ‘will you give me something small?’ But then in Kenya you’ll have a situation where a police [officer] stops you, yes you’re in the wrong. And that’s why I say this kitu kidogo, the corruption, is two ways; both that person committing the crime and the person receiving [the bribe]. The police [officer] will tell you, ‘OK, this you’re supposed to be fined this much.’ But, if you give them something small, kitu kidogo, you can go. So, it’s something that is seen, and yes, the government is aware and trying to fight this. But it’s something that is rife, and it’s there on a daily basis. You’d find that most [members of the] police force, most people serving the police are not well paid. And yet you have somebody with a family, and the living conditions might not be that good for police officers. So at the end of the day, they ask themselves, not all of them do it, but they would ask themselves, and I’m not trying to justify why they do it, but they try to find extra income. And that’s the only way they would find an extra income.”
In this video, a cultural expert discusses kitu kidogo in the Horn of Africa.