Murungaru award will scare whistle-blowers, warns Raila

FROM LEFT: Kisumu Senator Fred Outa, Opposition leader Raila Odinga and former Gem MP Jakoyo Midiwo arrive in Nyando, yesterday. [Kepher Otieno, Standard]

Opposition leader Raila Odinga has accused the Judiciary of being a weak link in the war against corruption.

Raila was irked by the High Court order to former PS and anti-corruption czar John Githongo to pay former minister Chris Murungaru Sh27 million for defamation.

“How can a whistle blower be penalised for helping the country to save public funds. This is a mockery of the law,” Raila told Saturday Standard in Kisumu.

The African Union Special Envoy for Infrastructure accused the Judiciary of not supporting the government in the anti-graft fight.

Raila also faulted the Judiciary for granting bail to suspects facing corruption and murder charges.

“The Judiciary is either with us in the resolve to tame graft or is lumped together with the opponents of the purge,” he said. He warned that damages slapped on Mr Githongo would undermine the spirited war against graft. “The law must protect whistle blowers,” he said.

“We want each of the three arms of government to execute their mandates in accordance with the law. They must uphold the legal values,” Raila added.

In an interview with the Saturday Standard after attending a funeral in Muhoroni, Raila asked the Judiciary to review some of its rulings in keeping with fair trial.

“In future, people will be scared to whistle blow if the trend witnessed in the Judiciary’s determination of such matters is anything to go by,” he said. He clarified that this should also not mean that people can take advantage of the Witness Protection Act to give false accounts to disparage others. “In this matter of Githongo, I am sorry to pronounce myself that the matter was in public domain and it was abundantly clear that he helped prevent a scandal,” he said. “Who does not know of the Anglo Leasing Scandal that nearly brought down former President’s Kibaki’s regime?” he posed.

Raila also decried the rising homicide statistics. “We want families to uphold strong social values. But it appears, going by recent observations, that there is a social break down,” he said. The Opposition chief advised couples that cannot cope together to divorce.