By Alex Kinyua
A week before President Uhuru Kenyatta addressed the parliament on Thursday 26th 2015, everyone was calling for cracking of the whip on the corruption vice that has drained our national integrity and consequently robbed us of millions upon millions of public monies. Eventually, the President heard the cry, and on Thursday last week directed that all individuals mentioned in a report by the Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission, EACC, ranging from Cabinet Secretaries, heads of State Corporations, Principal Secretaries, Governors and Senators step aside to pave way for investigations. The directive served as a sigh of relief to the Kenyans, that at last the war on corruption was a priority to the government and all and sundry hoped to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
The first to heed the directive was the Agriculture Cabinet Secretary, Felix Koskei, who stepped down on Saturday 28th 2015 to allow justice take its course. What followed that afternoon was the true indicator of the President’s commitment to see out what he had started in Parliament, by suspending four ministers for having been mentioned in the EACC report.
However, since the release of the report, various politicians who have been adversely mentioned in the report have declined to step down and instead turned the issue into a political witch hunt. Senators and Governors mentioned in the report include Siaya Senator James Orengo, Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero, Meru Governor Peter Munya, Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto among others who have adamantly declined to step down from office.
Instead these politicians have turned the issue into a political minefield, deciding instead to use the currency of insults and blame on Deputy President William Ruto. Meru Governor Peter Munya last week was quoted saying that DP Ruto should be the first to step down for having an ongoing criminal case at the International Criminal Court. The mentioned politicians have now turned this into their defense for not taking responsibility of their alleged corrupt deeds.
Kenyatta has come to the defense of his deputy, saying that the case was not about corruption. He asked the elected leaders mentioned in the graft report to step down so as to facilitate free and impartial investigation into the allegations.
Although Kenyatta may not have any constitutional powers to kick the Governors and the Senators out of office, we the electorate do. If the war on corruption is to be won everyone needs to be part of it other than just use the issue as a yard stick for a political witch hunt. Corruption affects everyone and therefore those suspected to have perpetrated the vice should just exhibit their moral uprightness (if they really have any) and step down.
The electorate might have elected these senators and governors overwhelmingly but it was neither for the purpose of perpetrating corruption nor to squander public funds for their own satisfaction. They were elected to serve them with diligence and honesty and when these virtues are questioned, the honorable thing to do is to step down and let justice take its course.
The latest of the accusations over the EACC report is comes from the Coalition for Reforms and Democracy, CORD that accuses the executive of doctoring the list in a bid to weaken the opposition. How true or untrue that may be, we might never know.
If the leaders who before the tabling of the report in the parliament were accusing the executive of failing to fight the vice were really honest with themselves, then they should borrow a leaf from the agriculture CS Felix Koskei who stepped down last week on Saturday and has today appeared before EACC to verify the claims leveled against him.
By Alex Kinyua