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Enough with handshake, we now want handcuffs in graft war

Leaders say graft war full of rhetoric. Photo/JOSEPH MURAYA.

NAIROBI, Kenya, May 1- The fight against corruption took center stage during this year’s Labour Day celebrations at Uhuru Park, with leaders calling on President Uhuru Kenyatta to ensure those involved in the vice are not only arrested but also prosecuted.

Amani National Congress (ANC) leader Musalia Mudavadi said he supports the vigor and energy that the government has demonstrated in the fight against corruption, but warned that it is not useful without prosecutions.

“I know we all want to fight corruption, and we are in support of the handshake which has accelerated this fight, but can we now stop talking about handshake and talk of handcuffs. Kenyans are tired of seeing people being arrested and none is convicted,” said Mudavadi.

His sentiments were echoed by Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka and Bungoma Senator Moses Wetangula who have vowed to rally behind President Kenyatta in ensuring Kenya is a corruption free country.

“I understand president Kenyatta’s frustrations with how the judiciary treats some of these cases. We cannot be lenient with people who steal from the public and we cannot just arrest and release anytime we want. It is true the wheels of just in this country are very slow and we need to do something about it,” Kalonzo said.

Other political leaders who spoke include National Assembly Minority leader John Mbadi, Bungoma senator Moses Wetangula, Likoni MP Mishi Mboko and her Cherangany counterpart Joshua Kutuny among others.

They all called on relevant authorities to guarantee Kenyans that the effort which the government has put in place to fight corruption will not be in vain and that the culprits will be convicted, as well as money recovered for public use.

In the latest case of corruption, former Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero was on April 26 arrested for the second time by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) following a corruption investigation involving an irregular payment of Sh68 million to a law firm during his tenure.

The Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji said he approved the arrest and prosecution of 17 officials over the payment to Wachira Mburu, Mwangi and Company Advocates.

“The Ethic and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) initially submitted the duplicate inquiry file to this office on 11th December 2018 and upon perusal and consideration of the evidence therein, a number of gaps were identified that required to be covered by way of investigations before charges could be filed in court,” the DPP said in a statement.

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He was however, released on Tuesday on a cash bail of Sh 8 million.

Trial Magistrate Douglas Ogoti gave him an alternative bond of Sh 20 million and directed the ex-county chief to deposit his passport in court.
His co-accused former Mayor John Ndirangu was ordered to deposit a cash bail of Sh 5 million, while George Waina. Pual Mutunga, James Mbugua were given a cash bail of 4 million.
The call by leaders and Kenyans at large to have the corrupt convicted will however follow the due diligence as stated by President Kenyatta.

Kenyatta cautioned Kenyans against what he termed as a “vigilante justice” in the war against graft saying the rule of law must be followed in pursuit for justice.

While expressing his confidence in the investigating agencies and rooting for their support, the President urged them to fight economic crimes but must do so based on evidence and facts.

Speaking during the State of the Nation Address on 4 April , the President noted that he was under immense pressure to fire corrupt Government officials but said no one will be condemned before being heard.

“I must say that I have been under pressure…that who am I sacking,” he said, adding that, “I must, however, caution that the pursuit of the corrupt will be undertaken strictly within the remits of the law – and not through vigilante justice and pitchfork protest. Though media narratives rally our resolve as they should, our actions will not be based on condemnation before one has been heard.”

“The cornerstone of our democracy is the rule of law, and the principle of due process is a critical anchor.”

He insisted that Kenya, “must aspire abidingly to this ideal and ensure that we do not pursue justice in one area through injustice in another. I remain confident in our investigative and prosecutorial institutions to diligently deliver justice on the strength of the evidence and in fidelity to the law.”

The President however warned officials whose graft cases will get to court, will be removed from their respective positions.

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