Kenyan president likens corruption lords to colonialists

By The Eastafrican

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Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta has said more senior government officials will be arrested in the war against corruption that has rocked his administration.

The President said he would not condone such individuals in his government as he reiterated his vow to combat the vice.

Mr Kenyatta likened graft to colonialism saying “in the end it must be dealt with firmly”.

Describing those accused of corruption as “predators”, their actions, he continued, have denied Kenyans of critical public service and development.

“I want officials, particularly senior ones, who are directly implicated in corruption to have no place in my administration and for them to go to jail,” he said at Kinoru Stadium in eastern Meru during this year’s Madaraka Day fete.

Some top officials including the principal secretary of in the youth ministry, Lilian Mbogo Omollo, and the director of the National Youth Service (NYS) Richard Ndubai implicated in the financial scandal at the youth agency were charged in court earlier this week.

Multi-billion shilling scams

Reports of multi-billion shilling corruption scandals that could undermine the Jubilee administration’s four pillars of growth have turned the spotlight on President Kenyatta.

Apart from the NYS scam, others are the fraudulent payments for maize supplied to the National Cereals and Produce Board and electricity utility Kenya Power tenders wars.

“Today, I want to address myself to these enemies, who must be boldly confronted by all Kenyans of goodwill in the same manner our forefathers resolved to join hands in the fight against colonialism. Our forefathers resolve to destroy the yoke of colonialism is what gave birth to our beloved nation. I have resolved to lead this nation in getting rid of corruption and division, the main challenges we face today, just like colonialism was then,” he said.

Madaraka Day, celebrated every June 1, commemorates the day in 1963 that Kenya gained internal self-rule after decades as a British colony.

Moral decay

President Kenyatta called on Kenyans to provide information against corruption and other vices that continue to bedevil the country.

“While the challenge may look huge because of the way corruption has become entrenched in some of our people, today, we have to declare in unison that corruption in all its forms will be diminished from our country.

“As colonialism was defeated, so will we defeat corruption. We must, with a sense of great urgency, destroy and eliminate corruption in our country before it fully destroys us and the future of our children.”

President Kenyatta also castigated the moral decay amongst different professionals that has seen widespread condemnation.

These include teachers who impregnate students, preachers who swindle their flocks, lawyers who defraud clients and construction firms building houses using shortcuts leading to collapse of such structures.

Doctors and other medical practitioners were also on the president’s radar for giving false diagnoses to increase their fees and the sale of fake medicine.

“Too often, some of the worst rogues are welcomed back home like conquering celebrities.

“The truth is that we are facing a grave threat to our moral basis as a people, from government down to the family. From leaders to parents, from corporates to individual citizens, we have a role to fight for our honour so that our country can prosper,” he said.

In his speech, the head of state also said instead of clamouring for a constitutional amendment, as has been the case recently, Kenyans should obey the law already in place.

“We must also be honest enough to admit that changes to laws or processes are only a part of the solution.

“The work we are called to do is to build trust and then change hearts and minds. We have many laws in Kenya, and a fine Constitution.

“It is not the letter that will get us to our destination, it is the spirit that we have when obeying the law,” Mr Kenyatta said.