• Arrests and zero convictions embolden the graft lords in their practice.
• Judiciary has complained of cash crunch but ordinary Kenyans are still getting convicted every day.
DPP Noordin Haji and his counterpart at the DCI George Kinoti have been hailed as a duo that would finally slay the dragon of corruption that is deeply embedded in government. Their resilience, however, does not seem to send the lords of sleaze cowering.
After two years of arrests of current and former senior government officials and businessmen, one would have expected looters of public resources and con artists to eschew dirty dealings, but the latest arms deal scandal embroiling former Sports CS Rashid Echesa and the Office of the Deputy President is a testament that without jail terms, criminals are emboldened in their ill motives.
Police officers still take advantage of the numerous matatu crackdowns to reap where they never sowed and school principals have gone an extra mile by engaging in school uniforms business in which they charge unsuspecting parents exorbitantly. Government officials and job recruiters still demand ‘kitu kidogo’ in what paints the country as a big criminal enterprise.
The fault in our judicial system is manifested in President Uhuru Kenyatta’s accusing finger at the Judiciary and the occasional spat between the Chief Justice and the ‘dynamic duo’ Haji and Kinoti, but CJ Maraga has hinted at a cash-strapped Judiciary and poor prosecutions by the DPP. He has accused the DPP of presenting cases, as numerous as they always are, in ‘one charge sheet’. But nothing can be farther from the truth. We have seen the same financially-constrained Judiciary condemn hundreds of Kenyans to years in jail.
But robbery is robbery, it shouldn’t matter who commits it. Nothing short of imprisonment is ever going to boost public confidence in the much-touted war on corruption.