President Uhuru’s State of the Nation address has sparked mixed reactions from both leaders in government and those in Opposition.
In a televised speech to Parliament, Uhuru said that corrupt State officials with cases in court must vacate office, adding that he would not sack those implicated unless found guilty by a court of law.
“We need to ensure that corruption cases are heard and determined on a priority basis. Kenyans are waiting to see more convictions and far less cynical exploitation of court processes to protect the guilty,” Uhuru said.
Following the much-anticipated speech, leaders from both political factions had quite a mouthful of reactions.
Uhuru's rival-turned-ally Raila Odinga agreed with the president’s sentiments that there should be no compromise if the war against graft is to be won.
“The people who continue to loot this country must face the full force of the law,” he said while addressing journalists outside parliament on Thursday.
Raila had strong views on the role of Judiciary in fighting corruption. “We need to first make sure that Judiciary members are clean before they can act on any cases. If you start with a corrupt judiciary, we will not achieve justice in this country,” he said.
When asked about his thoughts on Uhuru’s address, ANC party leader Musalia Mudavadi had this to say: “Wale wamekuwa wageni mara kwa mara, ni vizuri wajifikirie na wajiondoe ofisini. (If you are a regular visitor to DCI or EACC, you should feel ashamed of yourself, even your responsibility to Kenyans. It is only right if you step aside to allow for investigations to take place.”)
Mbita MP Millie Odhiambo said “wale watu wa tanga tanga watulie ili Kenya iwe na amani. (What Kenyans needs most is peace.”)
Those in the President’s camp were also not left behind. A close ally to President Uhuru, David Murathe lauded the president for his stand in the war against graft and uniting Kenyans.
“There was a bit of resistance but this time he seems serious. He has no choice now but to ensure that the Building Bridges Initiative succeeds.”
Dagoretti South MP John Kiarie, popularly known as KJ said his biggest take-home from the president’s speech was that there was no going backwards on anything.
Earlier in his speech, Uhuru said “there will be no turning back on the Building Bridges Initiative that assures inclusion, cohesion, unity and respect for all Kenyans. No turning back on the war against corruption as it is a just war, a war to prevent misuse of public resources for selfish interests by those we have entrusted to manage them.’
With only three years until the end of his second five-year term, President Uhuru has it all out.
From cabinet reshuffles, questioning his CSs capabilities to perform their duties on national television, tough-talking in the glare of cameras and closed-door meetings with leaders, the three years will largely define his legacy.