Kenya: Bishops Tell Kenyatta to Crack the Whip in War on Corruption

Catholic bishops Friday criticised the government over its commitment in the fight against corruption, saying that the enthusiasm to stamp out the vice has waned.

Suggesting that the declared war on corruption was a gimmick intended to deceive Kenyans, the clerics demanded a more aggressive approach to ensure those stealing taxpayers money are arrested and prosecuted.


They raised concerns that the anti-corruption drumbeats by President Uhuru Kenyatta, Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji and Director of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti were all 'suddenly dead', save for the latest onslaught on former Nairobi governor Evans Kidero.

"We have allowed the dragon of corruption to pull us down to the point where we have accepted it to be our way of life. The scale and magnitude of the allegations of corruption reported in the media has reached alarming levels and this is threatening the fabric of the society," Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) chairman Archbishop Philip Anyolo said in a statement.

Since the President's State of the Nation address last month, there appears to be a climb-down from what had looked like a sustained crackdown on corruption.

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The President did not hide the fact that he had been under pressure to crack the whip on corrupt government officials but insisted that he would not sack officers being investigated for corruption.

Questions are now being asked whether the President was prevailed upon to go slow on his anti-corruption drive. At least six Cabinet secretaries were implicated in various scandals over the past two months.

There was confirmation by the DCI and EACC that they were fast closing in on at least three CSs, either accused of irregularly awarding tenders or travelling abroad to receive kickbacks. There has been no word yet on these investigations so far. DPP Noordin Haji has, however, refuted claims that the fight against corruption is losing momentum. According to the DPP, a lot is going on behind the scenes that the public is not aware of.


"Investigations are still ongoing. Some are very complex. We may seem to have gone quiet but that does not mean we have given up. A lot is happening away from the public glare," he said.

The DPP has also stated that the President's State of the Nation address has not dampened their resolve to go after those implicated in graft.

"In my understanding, he was saying that there must be due process, which we agree with entirely. There shouldn't be unnecessary attacks on the agencies at political rallies. Similarly we too follow the law and even those who are in court are presumed innocent until proven otherwise," said Mr Haji.

Despite the DPP's position, President Kenyatta has lately been missing in action insofar as advancing the war on corruption on the political stage is concerned. Instead, allies of Deputy President William Ruto have been left to run with their narrative of biased anti-graft agencies.

President Kenyatta has kept a low profile since he returned from the disappointing trip to China, during which Beijing turned down Kenya's request for an additional loan to extend the standard gauge railway to Kisumu.

He failed to turn up for two functions -- the first at the Kenya International Convention Centre, where he was to open an international water conference, and the other a one-million-youth march at the University of Nairobi. Instead, he sent Cabinet secretaries Prof Margaret Kobia and Amina Mohamed.


The religious leaders said that the fight against corruption had taken a political trajectory that threatened to erode the gains already made. This is compounded by uncivilised manner in which the country's different political formations were confronting each other, they said.

The dilemma lies in the political backlash likely to arise should it appear the war on corruption is targeting a particular community.

Deputy President William Ruto's allies have publicly accused the government of targeting his supporters in the graft war.

"Politics seems to be hijacking the discussions, finding its way into any meaningful attempt to address the evil. We are stuck with the same type of politics and politicians. What we are seeing is a game of musical chairs by recycled players who lack the vision to inspire Kenyans for a better future," said Mombasa Archbishop Martin Kivuva.

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