Kenyans get very emotional about corruption.
I believe this is not because Kenyans do not know that corruption is everywhere in the world. I think our anger is because of the level of impunity with which corruption is carried out in Kenya. It is essentially primitive-without-shame-acquisition of public property and public funds. It is fundamentally annoying. It is also laced with the urbanised question; ‘uta-do?’
The other problem is that it is obvious. We see the fellow who got into public office in January while driving a beaten-down second-hand vehicle and living in a rental apartment in a noisy low-cost estate, and ended the same year driving a top-of-the-range luxurious four-by-four; amongst many other expensive vehicles; and now lives in his own house in a leafy suburb. The change in fortunes cannot be explained from his income. However it is directly associated with his public office – which is usually – a ‘procurement’ role. (I am made to understand that ‘procurement’ is now one of the most sought-after degrees!).
Now bring this reality before a President who has a ‘Big Four’ legacy project that depends on huge public outflows of funds and you can understand why Uhuru Kenyatta is genuinely committed to slaying the dragon of corruption. His legacy depends entirely on him winning this war. As a Jubilee MP my work is to make his task easier through legislation. I therefore intend to introduce a law that seeks to do four things.
First; redefine the crime itself. Today corruption is defined as an economic crime. When one is found guilty they either go to jail, pay a fine, or both. We need to make corruption a capital offence and add it to the ‘big three’ crimes - murder, treason and robbery with violence. This will ensure it is dealt with as seriously as the other capital offences especially because its effects could easily be worse than those of the three other capital crimes. It will also mean that anyone found guilty of corruption will either be sentenced to death, or life imprisonment.
Second; simplify investigations and prosecution of this crime. A corruption suspect is someone whose declared income does not match their lifestyle. The Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) should commence investigations whenever such a situation is suspected. If there are grounds; meaning there really is a mismatch between the suspect’s lifestyle and their declared income the DCI should summon the person to explain. If the suspect cannot do this satisfactorily DCI should pass on the investigations file to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) for prosecution as the Asset Recovery Agency immediately takes possession of whatever the person cannot explain and holds it pending declaration by court that these are proceeds of corruption. This should apply to people in both public and private sector. (Essentially this law means that if you cannot explain your source of wealth we must accept you have stolen it from ‘wanjiku’).
Third; simplify prosecution. A thief is a thief. Treat them as one. Thieves are investigated by the DCI (not the EACC). We do not need an agency with security of tenure investigating our corruption cases. We need people who can easily be fired. The DPP must also transparently explain the progress of each case, or face sanctions.
Finally; introduce judicial accountability. We - the people - must be the ultimate determinants of whether justice has been done and seen to be done, on corruption cases. We hold Kenya’s sovereign power and already the executive and legislature are directly accountable to Kenyans; we can fire them every five years at worst. We must have a law to ensure that the also Judiciary ultimately answers directly to the people of Kenya and that we can censure them directly (and fire people) if they do not do what we expect.
We do these four things we will slay the dragon of corruption – now and in the future. As a lawmaker I will do my part.