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Uhuru talks tough on corruption

NAIROBI
By Boniface Gikandi | March 1st 2019

Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi consults with President Uhuru Kenyatta at Kisii Teaching and Referral Hospital on 20/2/2019. President Uhuru pledges crackdown on senior government officials found culpable in latest wave of corruption. [Photo: Standard]

President Uhuru Kenyatta has told Kenyans to brace for more high-profile corruption prosecutions.

Mr Kenyatta assured the country there would be no sacred cows in the fight against graft that has plagued his administration.

While heaping praise on Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Noordin Haji and Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) head George Kinoti "for a job well done", the President expressed optimism that the renewed war on graft "will soon start bearing fruit".

"After we cleaned up the office of DPP and the DCI we have a very committed team. You have started seeing big scandals being unearthed and this is just the beginning. You haven't seen anything yet," he said in Murang'a County.

He added: "After investigations, Haji will take over and ensure that these people are prosecuted regardless of their standing. We want the rule of law to be followed and people taken to court."

The President who was accompanied by NASA leader Raila Odinga blamed the rampant corruption on the get-rich-quick mentality.

Mr Kenyatta, who spoke at Gitui village in Kiharu Constituency during the funeral of Kamau Kabugi, a prominent businessman, said the Judiciary was not doing enough in the reinvigorated war against corruption and said they needed to play a more positive role.

“I told them (the Judiciary) not to wait until Kenyans take the law into their own hands,” said the President referring to an earlier function at the Judiciary (see story on the right).

Since Uhuru was re-elected in the controversial 2017 poll, his government has been dogged by corruption allegations, with some cases involving high-profile individuals.

From stalled projects to blatant theft of public money, the corruption scandals have become a big blot in the Jubilee administration.

Some senior Government officials have already been charged with corruption in court.

Currently, some Cabinet secretaries are being investigated over some shady deals.

Critics of the Jubilee administration have recently accused the President of engaging in too much talk at the expense of taking action.

Yesterday, the President who has in the past avoided commenting on current affairs during funerals, spoke firmly against the monster that his hit his government.

“We must not earn from where we have not sown and I will not tire in saying that we are going to catch up with these thieves of public resources,” he said.

“Kinoti and Haji are doing their job well and I tell them don’t relent you have my every support. We want the rule of law to be followed in this fight,” said the President.

He threw the ball squarely in the Judiciary’s court.

"Kenyans are tired since these lenient bond terms have let loose the suspects who are having a field day in interfering with witnesses. I think the way we are going we can reach a point where the public will take the law into their own hands," said Uhuru.

“I talked to the judges today and I'm happy that the Chief Justice is very steadfast in this joint effort to get rid the country of this corruption menace,” he added.

He said Kenyans had grown tired of seeing looters being given lenient bail terms.

On the back of the alleged kickbacks scandal involving Arror and Kimwarer dams, the President noted that corruption was jeopardising the country’s progress.

“We will not reach where we want to reach as a nation if we do not abandon the get-rich-quick mentality,” said the President.

"We must all strive to be honest and work hard towards our goals and aspirations. Stealing of public funds and amassing of illegally acquired wealth is pulling our country backwards. This is not the way to build our nation".

Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga, who was among leaders who spoke at the funeral, said he fully supported the President in the fight against corruption.

"It was one of the nine issues that we agreed with the President to tame," he said.

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