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September 19, 2018

Arrest suspects even at Church

Depending on the moral health of your conscience, you can call for the decent arrest of corruption suspects or condemn the rapacity of public servants whose greed impoverishes ordinary people.

Consider a single mother, Irene Moraa, who lives in Pangani, Nairobi. The struggling woman took a Sh100,000 loan to pay a fraudulent power bill for a rented, two-bedroom house. This is just one of many cases of Kenyans having to deal with the dictatorship of Kenya Power.

Then there are fraudulent bills posted at mid-month on a chilly Sunday morning. The morning is dark and dull in a neighbourhood that has had no electricity for two days, without explanation or excuse from the power supplier. Kenya Power charges you when you make an emergency call to report their inefficiencies. A modest neighbour is struggling to convince Kenya Power he cannot consume Sh125,000 worth of electricity in 30 days. The bills come twice a month for this consumer, like to many others.

The cause of these erroneous bills, like leaking transformers, is being addressed. But allies of the suspects are offended by the arrests. Bail is a constitutional right, integrity in public office is also a constitutional imperative. The power elite, which is frantically trying to defend their own against accountability, is overlooking this simple logic.

There can be no decent time to arrest a public servant suspected of corruption. When duty calls, the DCI and EACC should arrest the suspects whenever and wherever they are.

There is nothing indecent about arresting a suspect at midnight on a Friday, or during a church service on a Sunday. The suspects should even be arrested at the dinner table, before their children who have swallowed the lie that Daddy and Mummy worked hard to own the palatial residence in Karen, the apartment blocks in Kililmani, the residential court in Runda, six customised German cars, and multimillion-dollar accounts.

Public servants should not be embarrassed for economic sabotage: This was Energy Cabinet Secretary Charles Keter bemoaning the arrest of top managers of the scandal-ridden Kenya Power. They shall prove their innocence. For Keter, the arrests are not about accountability. For him, Kenya Power has been robbed of star-studded engineers.

Then comes Senator Kipchumba Murkomen, who thinks it is right for one community to desecrate a national water tower, the Mau Forest, while another suffers vicious floods and droughts in the plains.

Keter is not moaning out of love for arrested KP managers and directors. He fears the murk could fly in his way when evidence is produced. He is the buck-stopper in the ministry. For Murkomen to politicise the desecration of a regional water tower, and call his seniors ‘wakora (thugs)’, the less said about psychotic sycophancy the better.

The age that turns churches into dens of robbers, where the rich sanitise proceeds of impunity, demands unusual ways of dealing with suspects. Jesus set a precedent when He flogged money changers for turning a holy shrine into a den of robbers. The skewed thinking of Keter and Murkomen is undermining the fight against corruption and environmental protection. For the record, Keter and Murkomen should know the public desires integrity in public office.

The good news is, the power elite is divided: One faction is defending suspects. The other tells the public there shall be no ‘sacred cows’ in the fight against corruption. The President is the leader of the faction that defends the public interest. This is the right side of history, which has the support of Kenyans who suffer the rapacity of the power elite.

No one has publicly volunteered to lead the faction rooting for immunity and impunity, decent treatment of suspects, desecration of water towers, ethnic divisions, and political discontent.

The amity between President Uhuru Kenyatta and Opposition leader Raila Odinga has given Kenya the chance to reconcile, build bridges, and begin a new journey for one country working together for a common purpose.

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