Let corrupt individuals carry their cross, Raila tells Rift Valley MPs

ODM leader Raila Odinga at PCEA Kangoya Child Development Centre in Kiambu yesterday for a Christmas luncheon with orphaned children. Mr Odinga rubbished talk by a section by Rift Valley leaders claiming their community was being targeted in the ongoing fight against corruption. [Kamau Maichuhie, Standard]
Opposition leader Raila Odinga has said top public officials implicated in corruption must carry their own cross.

Raila also told off some Rift Valley MPs over claims that the graft purge targeted their community.

He said together with President Uhuru Kenyatta, they had resolved not to relent in the war against corruption that has seen dozens of top parastatal chiefs prosecuted.

Raila criticised the MPs over their utterances last week where they said the crackdown was selective.

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He asked them to stop politicising and ethnicising the ongoing crackdown that he described as being in the best interest of the public.

“It is very sad to hear leaders now saying their community is being targeted. Those people who may have stolen did not steal on behalf of any particular community; they stole for their own selfish gain,” he said.

The former prime minister said the leaders should leave the agencies mandated to fight corruption to do their work without interference, adding that he sided with President Kenyatta’s resolve to ensure the vice was eradicated once and for all.

Raila cautioned political leaders to stop hoodwinking Kenyans by saying that their communities were being targeted in the crackdown.

“The politicians should stop hoodwinking Kenyans with their rhetoric. All those involved in graft must carry their own cross. They should stop bringing in propaganda and confusion in the fight against corruption. Those who have stolen public resources must be held accountable,” he said.

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Intimidation

He vowed that no amount of politics and intimidation would derail the ongoing battle to end graft, adding no one would succeed in defeating a cause whose time had come.

“The President and I have resolved to fight corruption head-on until it is eradicated. If money has been lost and you are the managing director, you have to be answerable and accountable. There should be no sacred cows. Those involved should not be worried because if they are innocent, they will be set free in the end,” said Raila.

Following the recent arrests of State corporation chiefs, some Rift Valley MPs have alleged that the purge was selective.

Nandi Senator Kiprotich Cherargei had accused the multi-agency team leading the investigations of profiling communities, and further linked the ongoing arrests to the 2022 succession battle.

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“We will not accept our own people to be taken in circles. The DCI boss should know that we are keenly watching his steps. Corruption should not be used as a weapon in the 2022 succession contest,” Mr Cherargei, who is also the Senate’s Justice and Legal Affairs chairperson, had claimed.

Cherargei, who was speaking in Mosoriot during a church fundraiser, alleged that the people who were being targeted had been giving their best in their various positions, adding that profiling them based on their communities was unlawful.

Aldai MP Cornelly Serem also sensationally claimed that the deputy president was being targeted in the on-going arrests.

“We have to raise the alarm as leaders and tell those from our region who are holding top positions that what is happening is not pleasant. They are being targeted because of our DP,” said Mr Serem.

The MP alleged that for the last two years, most of the officials from their community had been shown the door on flimsy grounds.

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Discharge mandate

But some Rift Valley legislators backed the arrests and insisted that the police should be left to discharge their mandate independently.

Cherangany MP Joshua Kuttuny said parastatal chiefs from the community linked to graft should carry their own cross.

The MP said the war on graft should neither be linked to 2022 politics nor to claims that it was being used to undermine Mr Ruto.

He dismissed as baseless claims that Ruto’s allies were being targeted.

Sirisia MP John Waluke had also claimed that that the corruption fight could be targeting members of a particular community. He asked the Director of Public Prosecutions to come clean on his motives.

“We are seeing that there is a systematic move to target people from one community in this war on graft. This is unacceptable because we want this to be a clean and fair fight,” said Mr Waluke.

On Friday last week, Ruto urged politicians to stop politicising the fight against corruption.

The deputy president, who was speaking in Elgeyo Marakwet, urged civil servants to do their work without fear, adding that no one would be victimised in the graft purge.

“Civil servants should do their work well and without any fear as no one will victimise them. The ongoing fight against corruption only targets those responsible for the vice,” said Ruto.

He noted that the war on corruption was a collective responsibility and urged all Kenyans to participate.

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