Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho has called on leaders to account for the source of their wealth.
Speaking at a fundraising in Churo, Tiaty, in Baringo County on Sunday - a day after visiting former President Daniel arap Moi at his Kabarak home - Mr Joho said some leaders had made it their hobby to steal and had normalised theft in the name of ‘hustling’.
“Leaders must be able to explain their source of wealth. Let those whose preoccupation is stealing from the public coffers be exposed,” he said.
“We know of leaders who are making corruption look cool at the expense of poor Kenyans who now live in abject poverty.”
The governor warned that leaders found to have stolen from the public should carry their own cross and stop dragging their tribes and communities into their affairs.
Joho noted that corruption had impeded development and should be fought irrespective of the persons involved.
“A thief is a thief. He does not belong to any tribe. Corruption is what has caused people to live in poverty. It has slowed construction of roads and schools and is a crime that should be fought irrespective of who is who,” he said.
Since President Uhuru Kenyatta announced a crackdown on corruption aimed at leaders and public servants, politicians, especially from Rift Valley, have been opposed to the lifestyle audit of public servants, terming it a witch-hunt.
Leaders close to Deputy President William Ruto have alleged that the fight against corruption is meant to scuttle the 2022 Jubilee Party succession politics.
Joho said it was unfortunate that leaders were stealing money meant for development at the expense of taxpayers.
“I will not allow myself to be led by a thief. Any individual who has stolen public funds should be arrested, charged and further compelled to pay back,” he said.
He reiterated that the lifestyle audit of Government employees and individuals should be done to curb corruption in various sectors.
Joho noted that development should be enhanced in all regions, adding that if it meant holding a referendum to amend the Constitution, Kenyans and all leaders should support it.
“Others are dismissing the amendment of the Constitution. We need inclusivity; we need a referendum if it will bring everyone on board, “ he said.
The governor lashed out at unnamed leaders, saying they were preaching hate messages by insisting that presidential candidates must be from certain tribes. He said this belief had continued to divide Kenyans.
Baringo Governor Stanley Kiptis asked the President to continue fighting corruption without fear or favour.
Citing corruption in various sectors, including the National Youth Service, he said graft was a shame to the country.
“Corrupt individuals belong in jail. They should be arrested, charged and compelled to return money they have stolen from Kenyans,” said Mr Kiptis.
Likoni MP Mishi Mboko said it was sad to see jobless youths yet some people had stashed away billions of shillings in funds meant to create employment for them.
Ms Mboko said the time to hold people accountable had come and everyone should prepare to face the consequences.
“Everybody will carry his own cross. If you stole, carry the cross of stealing; if you killed, carry your own cross. You will harvest what you sow.”
Kanu Secretary General Nick Salat said the party fully supported the President’s fight against corruption.
Mr Salat said that for the country to achieve maximum development, leaders must be held accountable.
“We are with the President in the fight against corruption. Anyone who wants to lead this country must demonstrate his or her seriousness in the fight against corruption and not appear to make corruption cool. What will our children learn from such leaders? That stealing is good?” posed Salat.
Fafi MP Abdikarim Osman said graft needed to be eradicated for development to occur.