EXPERT COMMENT: DPP, DCI must manage expectations, update the public on graft cases

In Summary

• Civil society activist Regina Opondo says corruption cases take long because they are complicated.

• The DPP and DCI need to reconsider their communication strategy.

Director of Public Prosecution Noordin Haji .
Director of Public Prosecution Noordin Haji .

Corruption cases can take a long or short time since the process of collecting evidence and ensuring it's watertight can be lengthy. Sometimes those informing the DPP, the EACC and the DCI may take one or two days to furnish concrete information — or weeks. Some of the facts gathered from such sources may also take a long time, sometimes years, to build a strong case.

In the case of dams, the hype has raised public expectations that must be met. What is important for the DPP, EACC and DCI is to continue providing access to information regarding progress of the investigations. It is a perfect way to manage expectations.

The mood in the country now is that people want to see prosecutions. Whether it's the NYS or the dams, we want to see people going to jail. At the same time, a lot must be done to educate the public on what it takes to prosecute a case of such magnitude as the dams, and that these cases take time because of the judicial process.

The DPP and DCI need to reconsider their communication strategy so when they come out to the public, they are very sure they have done most of the work.

The disappointment, if their work does not lead to a conviction, may be very real. They need to manage their communication strategy to explain the case cycle and what Kenyans should expect at every stage. An ideal situation would involve proper investigations and due court process.

Kenyans want to see people being punished and assets recovered or monies reverted back to the public for development. If we fail at this, we are going to open doors for impunity as those in power will now act without fear of punishment.

Some people, like those stealing money for hospitals, should even be charged with murder as such cases cause deaths.

People should also be compelled to step aside when implicated as their continued stay in office contributes to the lengthy period  the cases take.

We want to see guilty people punished and assets recovered for the sake of Kenyans who pay taxes in their struggle to make ends meet.

The Executive Director, Constitution and Reform Education Consortium, spoke to the Star