UHURU BACK PEDDLING

Fight against corruption losing sting and waning

This war is dead and without such a lifestyle audit

In Summary

• When Uhuru made one of his declarations against corruption, he said he was ready for a lifestyle audit. To date, no audit has been carried out

• When Uhuru fails to name and dismiss civil servants and ministers on claims of legal impotence, we are forced to think this is done not to enhance but subvert justice to avoid losing friends

President Uhuru Kenyatta when he arrived in Parliament ahead of his State of the Nation address on March 31, 2016
STATE OF THE NATION: President Uhuru Kenyatta when he arrived in Parliament ahead of his State of the Nation address on March 31, 2016
Image: JACK OWUOR

All of us want corruption to come to an immediate end.

Indeed, we want President Uhuru Kenyatta, the only one with resources to lead this war, to end corruption, and his words against graft to mean what he says, not merely lure and pacify the people.

But if we don’t want to be disappointed, we must ask the hard questions. We must ask whether we are moving forward or backwards. And if we are not moving forward, we must ask another question: Does it mean we are only claiming to fight corruption but going to bed with it in darkness and secretly?

When Uhuru made one of his declarations against corruption, he said he was ready for a lifestyle audit. But to date, no audit has been carried out either on him or anybody else, including his deputy, William Ruto who claims media has already done one on him. However hard we claim to fight graft, this war is dead and without such an audit.

When there was a great national clamour to fight corruption during the Narc-Kibaki rule, Danson Mungatana, Kalembe Ndile, Kivutha Kibwana and Koigi wa Wamwere came forward to declare their wealth in an effort to do a self-lifestyle audit.

We announced our wealth in declaration forms that we later gave to the media to publicise to the country and the whole world. But contrary to our hopes, while we expected support from leaders and other MPs, media only jeered, mocked and ridiculed us as charlatans who sought fake limelight and fame.

To date, while the country continues to talk about the war on graft and when the people demand action against those who have been associated or investigated for corruption — and there is enough evidence to charge and fire them — the President says we must stop “vigilante justice”. He says its purpose is "to sabotage the rule of law and undermine democratic rights of suspects" whose corruption is never mentioned to be killing people with hunger, diseases for lack of medicine, road accidents for failure to enforce the law and crippling ignorance for lack of school fees that thieves have stolen.

While misinterpretation of the law and the Constitution often lets the corrupt go scot-free, there is no proper interpretation of the law to save the country from the corruption dragon.

Misinterpretation of the law and the Constitution also manifest in President Kenyatta's false claim that he has no powers to fire graft suspects, who he has f hired.

Such suspects should be denied bail to make sure they do not destroy evidence or interfere with witnesses, making their trial and conviction hard and eradication of corruption impossible.

When Uhuru fails to name and dismiss civil servants and ministers in his government on claims of legal impotence, we are forced to think this is done not to enhance but subvert justice to avoid losing friends, corrupt relatives, political allies or other high status persons he had said he would not care to lose by subjecting them to the  law.

Rather than master enough courage to fight corruption, Uhuru seems to be back-peddling and killing people’s hope that the dragon of corruption will ultimately be disabled and slain.

 Irrespective of who the President is, Kenyans have a right to live in a corruption free society where people enjoy life equally. Subsequently, whoever is President must protect and guarantee our basic rights and necessities, which corruption denies us.

To fight corruption, the President must never look perpetrators of corruption in the eye in their places of work, social club, political party, family visit or wherever or his resolve to take them to jail will wane and eventually die, leaving them to go scot-free.

If  Uhuru is committed to fighting corruption, how can he have failed to visit those who are dying of hunger in drought-stricken parts of Kenya? If people can die from hunger without the President and other leaders showing their concern by visiting them, must we not conclude that corruption has eaten into our very morals and conscience that should have made us “our brother’s keeper”?

Because of corruption, just as Jomo Kenyatta left us in the desert, his son Uhuru might also leave us there dying of hunger and extreme heat of the sun.