Kenya: Uhuru Challenges Judiciary to Deliver in Graft War

Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i, during a press conference in Mombasa (file photo).
16 January 2020

President Uhuru Kenyatta has once again challenged the Judiciary to deliver convictions in graft cases to prove that the country is headed in the right direction in the war against the vice.

PROSECUTED

While speaking at Mombasa State House moments before he announced executive changes that saw Agriculture CS Mwangi Kiunjuri sacked, the President said he has done his part and the ball is now in the Judiciary's court.

"As we soldier on in this fight, I seek the indulgence of the Judiciary. Now the Judiciary should give us convictions as an indication that we are winning this war," President Kenyatta said as he proclaimed his "continued respect" for the principle of separation of powers between the Executive and Judiciary.

The President said that no administration in the history of the country has prosecuted cases the way he has done.

A number of Cabinet Secretaries, governors, Principal Secretaries and procurement officers among other senior government officials have been barred from office after being charged in court.

EVIDENCE

"I want to renew my pledge to you on this fight. I will not turn to the right or to the left. I will not soft-pedal or back-pedal. I will make no covenants with evil doers or show mercy to those who rig our markets to enrich themselves," the President said.

Whether President Kenyatta's latest challenge on the Judiciary will have an impact on the speed justice is delivered remains to be seen.

During the anti-corruption conference at the Bomas of Kenya in January last year, Chief Justice David Maraga said that cases in court, including corruption related, will only be determined based on the strength of the evidence presented.

RIGGING

"I think it is a shame on our country that we prosecuted a case against drug traffickers and we could not get a conviction and within a year of them being arraigned in the United States, they have been jailed for no less than 25 years. That is something that our Judiciary must come to terms with," the President noted.

Announcing enhanced measures to rein in the ghost of corruption, the President directed the National Intelligence Service to undertake a rigorous review of all cartels that have become "leeches sucking away the blood and sweat of hardworking Kenyans".

The review, according to the President, should pay attention to cartels operating in the public systems of budgeting, procurement, regulation and rigging of markets with the Directorate of Criminal Investigations directed to take necessary action "to confront these cartels."

DETERRENCE

"We cannot be a country where those who work hard are robbed of their profit by those too lazy to invest and produce."

He noted his fight against corruption has given him one joyous result - deterrence: "Instead of dealing with graft after it has happened, our fight has ensured that we fight it at the source."

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