CLEAN-UP

War on corruption is not tribe warfare

Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar.

In Summary

• Anyone who steals from the public does not do it in the name of his or her tribe but in their own individual capacity.

• Kenyans can see who has been caught by the net and do not need a few people to pretend to know better.

Once upon a time, a mischievous shepherd, used, jokingly, to cry “Wolf! Wolf!”. When the villagers came running, he would laugh at them for their pains.

One day the wolf came in reality, and the shepherd, this time, called “Wolf! Wolf!” in earnest; but the villagers, having been so often deceived, disregarded his cries, and the sheep were left to the mercy of the wolf.

When the Arror and Kimwarer dam scandals hit the headlines, there were high-octane claims that certain communities from Rift Valley were being targeted.

 

These claims were trumpeted because the most prominent of the suspects was Treasury CS Henry Rotich, who is from the county where the dams were to be built. But it is also important to note that the second most prominent suspect, Treasury PS Kamau Thugge, is from Kiambu county.

Fast-forward to almost a month later, the DPP approved the arraignment of the directors of African Spirits company principally owned by Humphrey Kariuki and Keroche Breweries, identified with the family of Tabitha Karanja.

Immediately, some people who believe they can speak for communities started claiming that businesses owned by persons from the Mt Kenya region were being strangled.

The same cries were heard when the Interior CS went for the operating licences of betting firms, among them SportPesa, whose ownership is drawn from the Mt Kenya region.

If you are to look at the governors before court, we have Moses Lenolkulal from Samburu, Sospeter Ojaamong from Busia and Ferdinand Waititu from the President’s own Kiambu. So how can this be said to be selective?

Some people have even started developing conspiracy theories that this was a proxy war being driven by business rivals or dominant business families. But it is clear that most of these cases have something in common – denying the public the worth of its public funds – either through corruption or tax evasion.

However, last week President Uhuru Kenyatta declared that people have to give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar. The President warned that those running the betting businesses are his friends but when it comes to taxes they have an obligation and duty to Kenyans.

And a few days later, the President repeated a similar warning telling those who think they can seek protection from the powers that be that they are on their own. Every Kenyan can no longer take refugee on tribe or connections when they are caught up on the wrong.

 

While in Mombasa on Monday, flagging off another of Kenya’s milestones, the President was clear that not even he can stop this train of getting people to account for their misdeeds.

Those who claim that the war on graft is selective are just dishonest people who think that Kenyans are foolish. Kenyans can see who has been caught by the net and do not need a few people to pretend to know better.

If you are to look at the governors before court, we have Moses Lenolkulal from Samburu, Sospeter Ojaamong from Busia and Ferdinand Waititu from the President’s own Kiambu. So how can this be said to be selective?

In fact, the EACC and DCI are on record saying they are targeting more than 10 governors and other county officials in the war on corruption. As the President said, the authorities are not joking and will go after all those who are found culpable.

They are going for suspects in their individual capacities and not because they belong to a certain tribe. Anyone who steals from the public does not do it in the name of his/her tribe but in their own individual capacity.

Those trying to parrot claims of selectiveness should know that the President’s agenda to fight corruption has the backing and goodwill of all Kenyans who want to see the country succeed.

The multi-agency task force dealing with the vice has been working swiftly and its actions are unstoppable. Indeed, only the guilty ought to be afraid. For the first time in Kenya's history, we are seeing the DCI, AG’s office, the EACC and DPP working collectively and in harmony to deal with graft.