Do not rush to defend graft suspects, say Raila and Ruto

By Olivia Odhiambo and Kepher Otieno | Sunday, Sep 2nd 2018 at 00:00
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NASA leader Raila Odinga with Siaya Senator James Orengo during the homecoming ceremony of Governor Cornel Rasanga at Segere village in Siaya County on September 1, 2018. (Collins Oduor, Standard)

NASA leader Raila Odinga has snookered his own party, warned of more rrests and cautioned leaders against politicising the anti-graft purge.

Speaking separately, Deputy President William Ruto also defended the war on corruption, saying it was not targeting communities. He said it was being done within the law and Kenyans should support it.

Telling Kenyans not to panic, Raila said the unfolding events in the country were part of the Building Bridges Initiative between him and President Uhuru Kenyatta.

He assured that no one will be indicted unfairly, that due process of the law will be followed but warned that no one will be allowed to stand in the way of the war to rid the country of corrupt elements.

Irreversible

Raila spoke during a homecoming ceremony for Siaya Governor Cornel Rasanga at his Segere home. The ODM leader said the fight against graft is irreversible.

“This is why I have kept quiet even as the purge touched on some of my friends. Do not be afraid, we are not on a witch hunt, no one will be unfairly targeted,” he said.

Raila also warned legislators and leaders rushing to defend corruption suspects, essentially countermanding the latest moves of his own troops.

On Tuesday, moments after Supreme Court Judge and Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu was arrested on graft claims, ODM issued a statement faulting Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji over the move.

Referring to President Kenyatta’s September 1, 2017 warning that he would “revisit” the Judiciary after it annulled the presidential election, the party claimed Mwilu’s arrest was a witch hunt and political.

But yesterday, Raila demanded caution of his troops and placed the burden on the Judiciary.

“This war will lead to the arrest of many people because we are out to sanitise the country and rid it of corruption. So do not be in a hurry to defend those under investigation, let the courts determine that,” he said.

Deputy President William Ruto and Samburu Governor Moses Lenolkulal ride on camels during the 29th edition of the Maralal International Camel Derby in Samburu County. Ruto said the war on corruption will continue. (Harun Wathari)

Ruto, who spoke at the 29th edition of the Maralal International Camel Derby 2018, cut down talk that the prosecutions were selective and targeted.

Samburu leaders, led by Governor Moses Lenolkulal, had attempted to rally around Agriculture PS Richard Lesiyampe, who hails from the area and who was arrested this week over the maize scam.

“I want to assure leaders and Kenyans in general that no one or community is being targeted in the ongoing war against corruption. It is being done in accordance with the law,” said Ruto.

“No one who is innocent will be treated unfairly. Everybody will be given a fair hearing and treatment.”

Restore economy

Raila, on the other hand, asked the Judiciary to play its role in the fight against corruption by fairly and carefully examining all evidence presented tbefore it.

He said wayward government officials who have presided over graft for years at the expense of development would be cornered this time round.

“We want the Judiciary to examine the evidence before it and convict suspects where there is sufficient incriminating evidence,” he said.

Raila told Kenyans the corruption purge will restore the economy and public servants will discharge their duties transparently and in an accountable manner.

He asked Kenyans to rally around the cause.

Siaya Senator James Orengo, who is the lead counsel in Justice Mwilu’s case, said they will follow the law to the letter and support the fight against corruption.

He said justice will be defended at all costs in a fair and transparent manner.

“We will not let anyone politicise the war on corruption,” Orengo said.

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