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NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Carrying signs saying “Kenya is bleeding” and “Stop These Thieves,” hundreds of people marched Thursday in Nairobi to protest against widespread corruption and deliver a petition to the office of President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Kenyatta is under increasing pressure as outrage grows over a number of corruption scandals revealed in recent weeks around the ministries of health, energy, agriculture, public service and youth.

This week 24 officials were charged with corruption-related offenses in a probe linked to the alleged diversion of nearly $80 million.

“We are tired of the theft that is going on in this country. We have waited for so long for action to be taken but nothing is happening,” activist and marcher Ndungi Githuku told The Associated Press.

“The kind of money that they have stolen this time is money that is embarrassingly huge,” Githuku said.

Kenyatta, long criticized for not acting against corrupt officials, said Wednesday there “will be no mercy for the thieves.”

In a separate statement on Wednesday, diplomats representing 18 Western countries including the United States urged strong action against graft.

The president, who won a second term last year, declared corruption a national security threat in 2015.

Kenya is considered among the world’s most corrupt countries, ranked 143th out of 180 nations by Transparency International in its annual corruption index.

Since Kenya’s corruption watchdog was created in 1997, all five of its heads have resigned or been forced out of office in what analysts say is a result of the country’s deeply entrenched graft.


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