, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 1 – President Uhuru Kenyatta has asked opposition leader Raila Odinga not to politicise the corruption fight.
President Kenyatta who spoke on Wednesday at the opening of the Kenya Diaspora Easter Investment Conference said Odinga and a section of the civil society were being duplicitous when they criticised him for demanding that members of his Executive under investigation for corruption step aside.
“On the one hand they spend their time saying this President is doing nothing about corruption. Then when we do something about corruption they say oh now you should not have done that because you should have waited for the investigative arms. Now, what do you from me?” he posed.
He was also keen to reiterate that his decision to suspend those members of his government under investigation was not a determination of guilt.
“I myself have gone through a process of being accused falsely. I’m not a judge, I’m not a prosecutor. If you have done what you have done step aside. If you’re proved clean come back; if you’re proved guilty the law will take its course,” he said.
And it’s on the presumption of innocence, President Kenyatta said, that he would not heed the calls to fire those he asked to step aside.
Former premier Odinga, on his return from China on Monday, had sized up President Kenyatta’s directive as cosmetic and targeted at appeasing the public outcry on corruption before business, as usual, resumed.
“All those who have stepped aside shall troop back to their seats and make up for lost time. The President is acting as a whistleblower, not an Executive authority,” he contended.
He had also accused the President of being duplicitous by preaching water and drinking wine by appointing to public office persons of questionable integrity.
“Our skepticism is warranted. Just two weeks before you (President Kenyatta) give this extraordinary talk, not action yet, you appoint a man wanted in New Jersey for money laundering, Chris Okemo, to a public body. What are we to believe?” AfriCOG Executive Director Gladwell Otieno posed in agreement with Odinga on Tuesday.
Okemo has since turned down the appointment, citing the ongoing case.
And the opposition aren’t the only ones to take issue with the way President Kenyatta handled the whole affair with his now suspended Lands Cabinet Secretary Charity Ngilu taking the position that due process wasn’t followed.
“I accord my accusers the due process they have not afforded me,” she said on Monday when she handed over to ICT Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i.