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North Rift leaders read mischief in anti-graft purge :: Kenya

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Deputy President William Ruto at the East African Jua Kali Nguvu Kazi exhibition in Eldoret on Friday. [Peter Odhiambo, Standard]

In summary

  • Ruto allies claim war on corruption has taken a political angle as other leaders back arrests
  • Kuttuny says those crying foul have been looting public money for their selfish interests

The on-going war against graft in Kenya has split leaders in the North Rift.

A section of the region’s leaders are crying foul over the wave of arrests made by investigative agencies against managers and officials of various parastatals linked to corruption.

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On Friday, Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) pounced on top officials from National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) and Kenya Pipeline Corporation (KPC) over corruption allegations. Among those arrested were former KPC MD Joe Sang and his NHIF counterpart Simeone Kirgotty. Deputy President William Ruto on Friday appeared to suggest that the anti-corruption crusade has taken a political angle, and warned against targeting people on the basis of their perceived political persuasion.

His allies have now picked the chorus, warning that law enforcement agencies should not be ‘used’ to destroy people’s careers.

Nandi Senator Kiprotich Cherargei pointed an accusing finger at the multi-agency committee for profiling communities, linking the ongoing arrests to the 2022 succession battle.

Speaking at Mosoriot during a church fundraiser, Mr Cherargei, who also doubles up as the Senate’s Justice and Legal Affairs chairperson, hinted at a plot to target people from certain communities on corruption claims. He added: “We will not accept our own people to be taken in circles. The DCI boss should know that we are keenly watching his steps. Corruption should not be used as a weapon for 2022 succession contest.”

Cherargei noted that the same people who are being targeted have been giving their best in various positions and profiling them based on communities is unlawful.

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Arrests

Aldai MP Cornelly Serem said it is the DP who is being targeted in the on-going arrests.

“We have to raise an alarm as leaders and tell those from our region who are holding top positions that what is happening is not pleasant. They are being targeted because of our DP,” he said.

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The MP alleged that for the last two years, most of the officials from the Kalenjin community have been shown the door on flimsy grounds. A section of legislators in the region have however backed the DCI on on the arrests, insisting that agency should be left to discharge its mandate independently.

Moiben MP Silas Tiren told off those crying foul over arrests saying it is an individual affair and should not be centred on a given community. “Corruption is not a communal affair. If anyone is found culpable, they should face the consequences,” he said. Tiren was categorical that investigations should be scaled up to target more people while cautioning leaders against interference.

Cherangany MP Joshua Kuttuny termed those opposed to the purge as defenders of graft who have been looting public money.

“It has now dawned on them that the same system has been tempered and they are fighting back. When we talked about farmers, the same people were silent,” he said.

Kuttuny maintained that the war on corruption should be fought by all means as a way of safeguarding the country’s independence.

Keter alleged that most of the parastatals CEOs currently under investigation have been sharing the loot with certain individuals who have political ambitions.

“Most of our people are currently intimidated and given instructions to take money to them. It is such amounts that are being dished in most fundraisers,” he said.

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Keter pressed for a lifestyle audit of all leaders saying the citizens have a right to know their sources of wealth.  

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