Only cooperation among stakeholders will defeat graft
Dr Sam Kamau
Early this year, a video clip went viral showing an agitated Director of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti fuming at how the courts had frustrated his efforts to secure prosecution in many corruption cases.
He prayed that Kenyan anti-crime agents unite and put to stop corruption, which President Uhuru Kenyatta recently admitted was costing the country Sh2 billion every day.
The DCI was unhappy with how the Judiciary was issuing injunctions that slowed the fight against graft. So, what solution did he propose?
Institutions working in harmony and reinforcing each other’s efforts. That they should support and not distract or undermine each other.
It is common knowledge corruption is one of the most intractable of the challenges retarding development in Kenya.
Numerous efforts have been made to root out this scourge with little success.
One of the reasons cited for this motion without movement is the absence of commitment and goodwill among the leaders.
Also, key institutions that ought to work in tandem to fight the menace are pulling in different directions.
As change of guard takes place at the Judiciary, the focus now shifts to how new Chief Justice Martha Koome should go about cultivating a working relationship with the DCI, the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission and other players in stopping theft of public resources.
The moment Kenya discovers a formula in which the institutions work in unison, and speak in one voice, the fight against corruption will be largely won. Yet an office is as good as its holder.
The jury is still out as to why former CJ David Maraga had a difficult relationship with the Executive, but many have pointed to his obstinacy which often saw him stick to the letter of the law, even when it was its spirit that was needed more, and rubbed many stakeholders the wrong way.
This is a path that Koome must not take. Fortunately for her, those who know her well have praised her as the kind of leader the Judiciary needs to address the delivery of justice that Kenyans have been yearning for.
Still, when she sets off on her onerous responsibilities, she needs to interrogate the hurdles that stand in the way of a collaborative effort between and among anti-graft agencies.
Kenyans have great expectations in her tenure. Her appointment is unprecedented given that she is the first woman to hold the office.
Also, as a woman she is expected to bring some measure of motherly tenderness to the rough and tumble of the corridors of justice which Kenyans have been familiar with for ages.
What this means is that justice will be delivered as efficiently as possible and be seen to be so.
There is also a chance that under her watch, a better working relationship will be cultivated with all institutions that work in the realm of justice delivery. Judiciary, by its very place, plays a critically indispensable role in the war on corruption.
Kinoti’s tirade is, therefore, a damning indictment against such an important institution.
Koome’s court must take a different trajectory. Globally, women are increasingly demonstrating that they are more than capable in providing leadership when called upon to do so.
Justice Koome has a golden opportunity to go into the annals of history as the judicial leader who finally bent the arc of Kenya’s future towards justice, and an instrumental player in slaying the hydra-headed monster of graft that has been mercilessly eating into the soul of the nation for ages.
Koome’s plate is certainly full, considering the challenges facing the courts. It would be advisable for her to make fight against graft a priority.
She needs to listen to stakeholders and find a workable solution that bring synergy and energy into the anti-graft war. — The writer is a senior lecturer at the Graduate School of Media and Communications at the Aga Khan University. The views expressed are his own