Opposition leader Raila Odinga has praised the ongoing war on corruption and called on Kenyans to support it.
“All Government departments, citizens and friends of Kenya must stand to be counted in the war against corruption,” he said in a statement sent to newsrooms.
Raila commended the Government’s crackdown on corruption and the culture of impunity, saying it was unthinkable at the beginning of the year - until the Building Bridges initiative was born.
“The March 9 handshake gave birth to a new Kenya with a very clear agenda on how to address our age-old problems. Thanks to the bipartisan support, public land whose recovery stalled in 2003 has kicked off, with the grabbers denied the ethnic and political party sanctuaries they usually hide in,” Raila said.
He noted that the current political atmosphere had enabled Kenya to look at its problems without ethnic biases.
“Attempts by suspects to appeal to their ethnic bases have generated near-zero support. As the crackdown continues, as it must, we need to see similar energy and speed directed at recovery of assets that were acquired from the proceeds of corruption and impunity,” he said.
“The Asset Recovery Agency must move with speed and ensure that the suspects, both those out on bail and the ones facing arrest, do not hide their ill-gotten wealth or access and use it to undermine justice and frustrate the war on corruption and impunity.”
The Orange Democratic Movement party leader also observed that Kenyans needed stolen monies seized and returned to finance the many gaps being experienced in development plans, including repayment of the ever-rising foreign debts.
“Partly because of wanton theft of public funds including those from donors, taxes are going up on virtually everything. Ordinary Kenyans must not continue to bear this burden while the corrupt keep their loot. Asset recovery must be seen and felt in our anti-corruption crusade.”
He said depriving corrupt actors of their ill-gotten wealth and returning it to the public would support development and economic growth, and restore confidence in the current crackdown.
“Corruption must be made a painful crime. The Asset Recovery Agency must move out of boardrooms and be seen to be working,” he said.