Jubilee must distance itself from claims of links with drug barons

Nothing can destroy a country quicker than the illegal so-called “recreational drugs.” That’s because drugs “eat” the young — the foundation of the nation’s present and its future. Drug cartels have brought Mexico, Colombia, and other promising states down to their knees.

Drug kingpins penetrate the state, and often sit at inner sanctum of power. In Mexico’s case, the police, security, and armed services have for long been in the pay of these evil men and women.

Quite literally, drug lords run parallel centres of power in many a state. Official corruption and the illegal drug trade are Siamese twins — one can’t flourish without the other. Kill corruption and you will cut off the head of the hydra of illegal drugs.

Which brings me to the body of my argument. Methinks — as do all rational observers with all five human senses — Kenya is crawling with drug lords who act with impunity. In the last regime, the Americans provided Kenyans with a list of several Kenyans, mostly MPs, thought to be involved in the drug trade. Those named — Ali Hassan Joho, Mike Sonko, William Kabogo, Harun Mwau, and Ali Punjani — strenuously denied the allegations. The late George Saitoti, then Minister for Internal Security, told the august House the suspects were under investigation. But like so much hullabaloo in Kenya, the storm died like a hiccup in a tea cup. The state didn’t then, or now, have the cojones to follow through.

The truth of those allegations was never proven in court, and all those named are presumed innocent until proven guilty. What’s clear, however, is that Kenya is awash with illegal drugs. In a ravage akin to genocide, the drugs are laying waste to the youth.

Addiction levels have reached historic proportions. Kenya has also become a major transshipment point for illegal drugs. Several caches of drugs have been captured. In the now famous picture — with Jubilee’s Uhuru Kenyatta watching — the Kenya Defence Forces blew up a ship loaded with heroin off the Kenyan coast last year. Many thought the move unwise — and unlawful — because it destroyed crucial evidence. The matter seemed to rest there. But whose drugs were they?

More recently, however, the country’s zeitgeist seemed to have been recaptured by illegal trade. In the first instance, Judge Mumbi Ngugi of the High Court denied a petition by Mr Mwau to strike off his name from an academic report based on Mr Saitoti’s statement to Parliament in which the former Kilome MP was named. In the second, Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero has strongly condemned drug barons and accused them of running a parallel deep state. Although Mr Kidero didn’t name names, Senator Sonko came out like a pugilist, denying any links to drugs. The flamboyant Jubilee senator reportedly said, “I have never, I am not, and will never be a drug baron.” That’s true fireworks.

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Mr Kidero is Senator Sonko’s rival in Nairobi politics. Mr Kidero alluded to high profile politicians with endless bundles of cash to throw at prospective voters. Mr Sonko is one-man Nairobi institution providing free fire engine, ambulance, funeral and wedding limo services. Mr Kidero appeared to have been alluding to the questionable source of monies for such free goodies.

As only he can do, Mr Sonko reportedly told Mr Kidero “to produce the evidence or shut up.” But these inflammatory remarks and retorts from two political titans obscure a central problem — where’s the truth if the two highest ranking officials in Nairobi can shamelessly slug it out in the court of public opinion, and not the court of law?

Crucially important is why the governor of arguably one of the most important cities in the world feel helpless in the face of what he believes is a grip of Nairobi by drug cartels.

Doesn’t Kenya have a government that’s sworn to protect the Constitution and the law? Where is the DPP in all of this? Did the AG go AWOL? Where’s the anti-corruption body?

This is my suggestion — Mr Kidero should put up or shut up. Why? Because he can’t simply make such allegations and not act on them. It’s like Mr Kenyatta saying there’s corruption in his office. It means he knows who’s corrupt, and what the corrupt deeds are. Why can’t he bring down the guillotine?

How does Mr Kenyatta expect the rest of us — mere minions — to root out corruption in his office, the most powerful in the land, if he’s helpless himself?

Isn’t Mr Kenyatta admitting that he’s unable, or unwilling, to decapitate corruption and drug cartels? If so, what’s going to be his legacy? At some point, he’s going to have to cut loose some of his associates for corruption and drug trafficking. Otherwise, I don’t see how else he can be credible.

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drug baronsjubilee government