When, in March, President Uhuru Kenyatta chose Noordin Haji to replace Keriako Tobiko as theDirector of Public Prosecution, many average Kenyans were largely disinterested.
Haji was largely known to the general public because of his many years in the National Intelligence Service, most notably as its senior director.
However, those in the know knew from the beginning that for good or bad, Haji was the right man for the job.
His appointment sent shivers down the spine of the high and mighty.
After his appointment, a group of MPs were overheard saying that Haji being appointed as DPP is “bad news”.
One of the legislators, in the conversation, said the new DPP was difficult as he makes it difficult to influence him.
Some have even criticised Haji because, unlike most Kenyans, he doesn’t smile that much.
However, President Kenyatta did not think that a DPP’s ability to smile and be friendly is one of the requisite qualifications for the job. He wanted a serious, dedicated and unfaltering general in his war on corruption and in Haji he certainly has that and that is why many are starting to sweat.
Nevertheless, only a few months later and we are already seeing a massive change in our political system and business ethical climate.
When Sospeter Ojaamong, the Governor of Western Busia County, was arrested and would be prosecuted over the theft of millions of Kenyan shillings of public funds we knew that this man would be different.
Haji noted that the charges against Ojaamong would include abuse of office and conspiracy to steal public funds, and centred on procurement practices linked to a solid waste management system in Busia, which borders Uganda.
As with far too many graft and corruption episodes over the years, the case is based on evidence of suspicious procurement practices for a public works project that was never completed. In other words, allegedly, Ojaamong, was given money for a project that simply never happened but the money was ‘spent’ nonetheless.
This is sadly how many senior Kenya officials have ingratiated and enriched themselves for many years.
Nonetheless, with Haji’s arrest of Ojaamong a clear message was sent that this stops here.
Those in the legal system are delighted by Haji’s policies and his no-nonsense approach.
Lawyer Ahmednasir Abdullahi, otherwise known asThe Grand Mullah, is not known to give compliments so easily, but the relatively new Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Noordin Haji has left him with no choice.
The firebrand city lawyer seemed excited by how Haji was dealing with the allegedly corrupt government employees and leaders.
In a Tweet, Ahmednasir wrote: “Why is DPP Haji shaking the earth and creating waves? Simple…he isn’t asking for 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 or even 20 million as a bribe. When you are not corrupt everyone will know…and the converse is true…so Kenyans know Haji cannot be bribed and won’t ask for a bribe.”
While some were worried about his appointment, and perhaps even his lack of smiles, Ahmednasir has stated a far more important qualification for the position of DPP, that he cannot be bought.
Whatever one thinks of him, it is clear that Ahmednasir is intimately familiar with Kenya’s legal system and he knows what the right qualifications for the DPP are, and he thinks that Haji has them.
So far it seems that Haji was an inspired choice by President Kenyatta. The President knew that to change perhaps decades of static and faulty thinking on corruption at all levels required someone who was not afraid to take risks and ruffle feathers.
Haji’s opponents and supporters alike know that he is a force to be reckoned with and that he will be the corruption bulldozer that President Kenyatta needs in the position of DPP.
Whether it scares politicians who are crying that he cannot be influenced or legal experts that he cannot be bribed, there is a positive uniformity about the job Haji is doing in his relatively new office.