Excerpt : The circus on the war against corruption continues unabated. The script is the same as that of 1990s; only the players are different. But the end game will be the same — political mudslinging, cosmetic prosecutions and ultimately the vanquished shall be the hunter, Ethics and Anti-corruption Commission (EACC) and Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), and their officials who will be shown the door.
The circus on the war against corruption continues unabated. The script is the same as that of 1990s; only the players are different. But the end game will be the same — political mudslinging, cosmetic prosecutions and ultimately the vanquished shall be the hunter, Ethics and Anti-corruption Commission (EACC) and Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), and their officials who will be shown the door. Only the small fish shall fry as usual. The anti-graft law will be ‘rebooted’ as often and we shall replay the tape again!
When the President splashed the list of suspects in Parliament, many criticised his action as an attempt to silence his critics. It wasn’t a smart move as the list was merely a catalogue of allegations, many yet to be investigated but nonetheless he demanded that they step aside. In Kenya, once your name is mentioned, you are charged and convicted in the court of public opinion immediately.
Perhaps unwittingly, the President instantly tarnished the reputation of many of his lieutenants, some irredeemably. If he thought that by his action he had cleaned his government, he got it all wrong! His critics still believe his government is corrupt.
Opposition legislators in the House gave the President a standing ovation but only for a while. They came out guns blazing, accusing the government of selective prosecution and engaging in a public relations exercise. The folks in United Republican Party wondered aloud that the list targeted the Deputy President’s allies and even questioned whether he was onboard in his boss’s action. And the drama began! The EACC commissioners who challenged the authenticity of the list were first to be shown the door in a most bizarre manner, reportedly by the President’s men.
Soon after, the independence of EACC was in question, as Integrity House became awash with government officers from the CID and DPP out to beat a deadline set for the commission by the President. It came and passed, and no one is cleared yet. The blame game between the DPP and EACC ensued, about who should be cleared, and who should not.
When the first CS was charged, it was the turn of the TNA brigade to cry foul that the President’s allies are targeted. The shoe was on the other foot! They promptly demanded for the EACC boss, DPP & co to be fired. The commission was held to ransom, unable to set free those it ostensibly cleared. The circus has started!
In the orchestrated confusion, the victims are the institutions, and the public officers who are innocent until proven guilty. Indeed, it is worse for those declared cleared by the EACC who cannot resume their duties because the President is no longer committed to his earlier pledge that they will resume office. Instead, his spokesman has announced they will commence further investigations against them! Now, that’s like saying they are looking for some mud to stick regardless! Or perhaps, all must go down together so that it is politically correct.
Will EACC and DPP play ball? I think they ought not to; they owe it to Kenyans to stand above the political fray and machinations in State House and redeem their institutional independence. The President must take cognizance of the effect of all this mudslinging and uncertainty on his officials.
Even casual remarks about involvement in deals, such as he made in a tiff recently on absent CSs at a function, will only demotivate his team. Anti-corruption war cannot be won on impulse but through due process, without undue influence.