PRESIDENT AND DPP TO BLAME
The truth is, President Uhuru and his administration have neither the will nor the intention to fight corruption in his government, and are at best paying lip service to this effort
It was extremely troubling to watch President Uhuru Kenyatta helplessly lament about corruption at the Governance and Accountability Summit at State House, Nairobi. The Summit turned out to be a game of musical chairs between institutions established by the Constitution to fight graft. While feigning frustration, the President blamed the police, the Auditor General, the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission, the Director of Public Prosecutions and ultimately, the Judiciary for the dispirited war on corruption.
The impact of corruption on our economy and on the well-being of the nation is so real and grave that we cannot contemplate losing it. The Auditor General recently confirmed Kenya loses more than a third of her annual budget to corruption — at both levels of government. With a national budget of Sh2.3 trillion, simple calculations show we are losing over Sh700 billion to corruption a year! No wonder our national debt burden has soared from Sh1.4 trillion in 2013 when Jubilee took power to Sh4 trillion in just three years, and yet we have nothing to show for it. Our people still languish in grim poverty and famine without the most basic of services.
We must prepare to face the hard facts and be blunt about this matter. In all countries where corruption has been successfully fought, the war has been led from the top. President Uhuru and the Jubilee Party have a solid majority and control in Parliament, which has given him all facilities he needs in this fight.
The truth is, President Uhuru and his administration have neither the will nor the intention to fight corruption in his own government, and are at best paying lip service to this effort. The President removed Mumo Matemu and recently Philip Kinisu from office when he so desired. How does he now look at the nation bleeding under the weight of corruption in the eye and claim he lacks the power to do anything?
The fact that subsequent advertisements inviting applications to the position of the chair of the EACC have failed to attract distinguished applicants speaks to the fact that no Kenyan of sound repute is willing to besmirch his career pretending to fight corruption in a government that does not really mean to do so.
And so we watched painfully as the investigation files of top state officers were ordered closed, the corrupt officers allowed to troop back to office according to their political capital; and those who have stolen our money crowned “Jubilee Gold Certificate” members in our face.
And as this is happening, the DPP has morphed into a corruption investigator. We watch helplessly as the DPP, without lawful authority, orders the EACC to investigate corruption cases and report to him. It does not require rocket science to discern why he does so: He is telling those to be investigated to “see him” instead of “dealing” with the EACC officials. It is open rent-seeking!
Attempts to blame the Judiciary are misguided and diversionary, and we must not allow them. Courts do not decide who to charge, what charges to prefer and the evidence to adduce to secure conviction. They determine cases on the basis of evidence provided, the facts and the law. It is never their function to ensure individuals taken before them on charges of corruption are convicted. This burden falls upon the investigating authorities and the prosecution. The DPP carries ultimate responsibility for the quality of investigations and evidence produced in court. This is the reason why the EACC, by law, reports to him. The time has come for us to consider granting the EACC the power to prosecute corruption cases, and to enact laws to make graft the most painful crime to be convicted of in this country.
THE DPP CARRIES ULTIMATE RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE QUALITY OF INVESTIGATIONS AND EVIDENCE PRODUCED. THIS IS WHY THE EACC REPORTS TO HIM