23 March 2019

Kenya: We'll Not Spare Anyone in Anti-Corruption War, Says Kenyatta

President Uhuru Kenyatta on Thursday night issued his toughest statement yet on the fight against corruption, warning that he will spare nobody, not even his brother, sister or closest political ally.

Addressing Kenyans in Windhoek, Namibia, the President warned that there will be no sacred cows in the fight against corruption.

"If you are corrupt we will fight you. You can be my brother or my sister or my closest political ally, but if you are corrupt we will fight you," the President told Kenyans living in the southern African nation.

A section of Kenyans quickly interpreted the "closest political ally" statement as being directed at Deputy President William Ruto and his allies, who have previously protested that the war against corruption is targeting the DP and members of a particular community.

BIAS

Dr Ruto himself is on record criticising the manner in which Director of Prosecutions (DPP) Noordin Haji and Director of Criminal Investigations (DCI) George Kinoti are carrying out investigations, terming it selective.

Two weeks ago, Mr Haji was forced to carry a list of the corruption cases his office has prosecuted, indicating the ethnic communities of the suspects to disprove claims that he is conducting selective prosecutions.

Reacting to President Kenyatta's statement, Tharaka Nithi Governor Muthomi Njuki told off leaders who are politicising the campaign on grounds that it is targeting particular communities.

He asked anti-graft agencies to ignore the protests and target the "big fish", and urged President Kenyatta not to spare anybody implicated in the vice.

HACKING

The President's statement, which was uploaded on his official social media handles, soon triggered a security scare after hackers managed to get "unauthorised access" to his official Twitter account.

With scant details on the culprits and the level of intrusion, since some people use Gmail accounts to secure their twitter accounts, the President's handlers responded by suspending his social media accounts as investigations continued.

A statement released Friday by Chief of Staff Nzioka Waita said: "All official social media handles for the President have been temporarily suspended to allow for the necessary remedial measures to be undertaken."

Mr Waita tweeted after social media users asked why they could not access the President's accounts.

STEADFAST

Mr Waita's post was also shared in the official State House Kenya handle. Mr Waita however insisted that the President stood by his comments on the war on corruption.

That an intruder can bring down the president's formal communication platforms is unprecedented, especially in this era where presidential decisions and communications are archived.

City lawyer Ahmednasir Abdullahi termed the alleged hacking a "serious breach of state security".

The decision to suspend the President's social media accounts was seen in light of the Windhoek speech on corruption and which caused a major political storm on social media.

KENYANS REACT

The quote about sparing nobody involved in corruption that was placed on his Facebook and Twitter pages elicited strong reactions from Kenyans, and is reported to have prompted the sudden decision to bring down his social media handles shortly after his words were broadcast to the world.

The speech was shared on Mr Kenyatta's Facebook and Twitter handles shortly before 7am Friday, and amid a torrent of negative comments from Kenyans, both accounts -- Uhuru Kenyatta on Facebook and @Ukenyatta on Twitter -- were pulled down.

The official reason given by Mr Waita was that there was an attempt to hack the pages.

Reached for comment, State House spokesperson Kanze Dena, who nowadays rarely speaks to the media, responded with a terse "No."

Kenya

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