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

The Star (Kenya) - - Voices - PETER KALUMA

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.


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