Divorce politics from fight against corruption

Friday, June 19th, 2020 00:00 |
A medic holds a vaccine. Photo/PD/COURTESY

Hesbon Hansen Owilla       

As the country concentrates on containing the Covid-19 pandemic, we must not lose focus  on the fight against corruption. 

The graft war is one war that as a country we must have the stamina to advance.

We have seen a governor or two fall by the wayside and Cabinet Secretaries land on the pavements of corridors of justice.

These are recent developments that we have witnessed in the second term of the Jubilee government. 

Leaders, especially governors, who command enormous resources at the county level with fairly weak accountability frameworks, need to remind themselves that justice is perpetual. 

It is not lost to Kenyans how justice is mishandled at the Senate whenever a governor faces ouster.

Inept governors are often comforted by the idea that they can compromise the Senate—or majority of members—and get away with whatever they are accused of.

With the impeachment route via Senate, it is easy to politicise and trivialise theft of public funds within the political spaces, and we have seen this happen even to top civil servants.

While justice might be subverted by the trappings of power and political interests, it is perpetual and persistent. 

It is worth noting all the three arms of government have a cardinal role in the anti-corruption fight.

To its credit, the Executive has been responsive to the aspirations of the citizenry and the government has demonstrated that no one is safe from the graft purge.

That is why some Cabinet and Principal Secretaries have been shown the door or arraigned in court. 

Yet, it is a different ball game when comes to a governor.  The fact that the law provides for a fairly complicated process of their removal a complex and messy affair. 

Add to that our penchant for politicisation of virtually anything and any corruption allegations ceases to be about accountability and becomes a political contest. 

Take the case of Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru for instance.  She was elected overwhelmingly by the very people who now want her out.

Well, it matters not whose side you are, but it is clearly discernible that it is not just about corruption or theft of public funds anymore, but a political contest.

Now, in a political contest it is more about political capital than issues and if there are substantive issues they are always politicised. 

When MCAs have to cram themselves in some dingy room on the eve of the tabling  of Waiguru’s impeachment motion, then it is longer about their constitutional mandate.

It raises more questions than answers. Politics is at play and you cannot blame our politicians for advancing their interests. 

We had our time as the citizens but we chose corruption and elected tainted leaders  in almost every other county.

It is not our call now, it is theirs.  They will now use their political capital to outwit their rivals and in the process amass more political capital at the expense of service delivery.

But we must learn that the biggest hurdle to Wanjiku’s realisation of the fruits of devolution lies in how some MCAs have packaged themselves as low hanging fruits for political expediency. 

It is not lost on Kenyans that politicians baying for the blood embattled governor—figuratively—attended her swearing with pomp and colour, and have in the past protected the governor against some accusations. But because the landscape has since changed, we are listening to yet another political song.  -—The Writer is a PhD Candidate in Political Communication

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