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The Star (Kenya) - - Politics -

DDRESSING the Gov­er­nance and Ac­count­abil­ity Sum­mit at State House yes­ter­day, the Pres­i­dent ap­peared to be help­less, lament­ing and pass­ing the buck about be­ing let down by the an­ti­cor­rup­tion agen­cies. He ex­on­er­ated him­self from spi­ral­ing cor­rup­tion, say­ing he had given his all to help the agen­cies tackle cor­rup­tion, yet noth­ing was mov­ing. The Pres­i­dent even sug­gested he was mis­led in fir­ing Cab­i­net Sec­re­taries and PSs on the EACC list two years ago be­cause the agency has yet to pro­vide in­crim­i­nat­ing ev­i­dence against them.

His de­meanour was that of throw­ing in the towel by wash­ing his hands of the war on cor­rup­tion, which amounts to the Ex­ec­u­tive sur­ren­der­ing to the cor­rup­tion car­tels. This is not the kind of re­sponse ex­pected of a pres­i­dent de­ter­mined to root out cor­rup­tion. The pos­ture of help­less­ness doesn’t in­spire the war on cor­rup­tion. What, then, is the mes­sage to or­di­nary Kenyans? That they should learn to live with the cor­rup­tion that takes away their liveli­hoods?

The in­sin­u­a­tion that he is pow­er­less against cor­rup­tion be­cause of con­sti­tu­tional lim­i­ta­tions is ex­tremely alarm­ing. In com­plain­ing that he doesn’t have the le­gal or con­sti­tu­tional where­withal to ap­point judges, is he in­ti­mat­ing that had he such pow­ers he would de­ter­mine who should be jailed and who should not? Isn’t this nos­tal­gia a yearn­ing for the au­thor­i­tar­ian pres­i­dency of the past?

De­spite the in­de­pen­dent man­date and func­tions of the anti-cor­rup­tion agen­cies, pu­bic of­fi­cers work at the be­hest of the Pres­i­dent and noth­ing stops him pros­e­cut­ing any com­pla­cent or com­pro­mised agency. He demon­strated this abil­ity to get things done when he got the EACC com­mis­sion­ers re­lieved of their du­ties in record time.

The Pres­i­dent ought to know that ev­ery grand project JP em­barks on is un­der­writ­ten and ex­e­cuted by cor­rup­tion. I want to coun­sel the Pres­i­dent on the bil­lions in scan­dals in­volv­ing cash trans­fers to the el­derly, in­firm and or­phans. While at the Coast last week, I bumped into what could be a ma­jor scan­dal of theft beyond the NYS ex­cesses.

The bil­lions in cash trans­fers are per­fo­rated with cor­rup­tion, be­cause ben­e­fi­cia­ries aren’t re­ceiv­ing the cash as as­sumed. Money is go­ing into the pock­ets of ghost ben­e­fi­cia­ries while the qual­i­fied ben­e­fi­cia­ries are turned away on flimsy grounds. Many ben­e­fi­cia­ries were reg­is­tered but don’t get dis­burse­ments. The sit­u­a­tion will get worse.

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