To rally the public, keep politics out of graft purge

Nairobi City County Speaker Beatrice Elachi during an interview with the Standard. (File, Standard)

Selfish politics and unnecessary turf wars have fueled corruption in Kenya over the years.

Competing interests which far too frequently lead to lack of oversight has seen many opportunities for fraud and graft infest numerous layers of our society. However, President Uhuru Kenyatta is trying to change that with a carefully laid out plan that is battling corruption in a way unseen in the history of our nation.

The President is unifying the nation in this war and has reached across the aisle to his political nemesis, NASA leader Raila Odinga, and others, in an effort to put politics aside for the good of the country. The now famous ‘handshake’ which led to the ‘Building Bridges Initiative,’ has rekindled hope for a unified voice from the political world that is picking up Uhuru’s gauntlet to rid our nation of public theft.

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Since the handshake, others, like Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka have joined in creating a great surge towards political unanimity that this battle strikes across party lines, ethnic groups or ideology.

Nevertheless, there are still those who want to bog this growing and successful movement down in silly turf wars.

The Central Organisation of Trade Unions (Cotu) Secretary General Francis Atwoli has urged the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) to keep off the war on graft claiming it has failed to tame the menace. 

He claims that Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Nordin Haji and Director of Criminal Investigations (DCI) George Kinoti were doing a remarkable job of bringing to book corruption lords. 

“The duo have rolled-up their sleeves selflessly and charged top government officials adversely mentioned in corruption cases. The EACC should not complain that their mandate has been overtaken by other institutions as it (EACC) has proved to be overly incompetent,” said the Cotu boss. 

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Mr Atwoli would do better to follow the example of the DPP who he extols.

In June, Mr Haji said he wants investigators from his office embedded in the EACC to help ensure watertight cases against corruption suspects.

The DPP, while appearing before Senate’s Justice and Legal Affairs committee chaired by Nandi Senator Kiprotich Cherargei, said his office had resolved to guide officers from EACC in their investigations to seal all loopholes that corruption suspects might use to evade justice.

“We have resolved that a better approach is to be with the EACC detectives during investigations and guide them at different stages,” Haji said.

This is another great example of how the war against corruption should operate, with cooperation and unity, not division and recrimination. We should not be shutting the door on anyone or anybody, but urging greater coordination and cooperation.

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Uhuru has led from the very top and he appointed people, like Haji, who he knows not only have a very serious record and attitude towards corruption, but is prepared to work with the existing framework to tighten the screws on those involved in corruption.

The President set in motion a new path for Kenyans of all background to join hands and do what is best, not to make unnecessary noise, but to act.

Of course, there can and should be differences of opinions about how best to act and what is the best path to rid our society of corruption, but it should be done in a spirit that helps our aims, we need to keep our eye firmly on the ball and not let politics, grudges or conflicts cloud our judgment. 

We need to be looking forward and not looking backwards in this war that has the capacity to shape a new Kenya free from the shackles of graft and theft.

We need to be more united and less divisive in the way we act on behalf of the people, and we need to end any feuds that remain to work for a better and more prosperous Kenya that we can all be proud of.

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While politicians and other leaders need to join the President in the war on corruption, they should leave politics out of it and work in common fraternity for the greater good.

- The writer is the Speaker of the Nairobi County Assembly

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