Kenya has over the years performed poorly in international ranking on corruption with the recent 2021 corruption perception index placing the country in position 128 out of 180. Despite numerous statutory legal frameworks in the fight against corruption, over 40 corruption scandals were reported in the last 10 years alone with little done by former regimes to comprehensively hold to account those implicated. In addition, Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) indicates that the country loses approximately Kshs. 608 billion annually to the graft which translates to 7.8 percent of the GDP. The above trend is obviously worrying and to any concerned citizen, the government must prioritise the fight against corruption if it’s to achieve optimal development to steer the economy upward.
Corruption happens at all levels of society, in big and small affairs, manifesting itself in numerous ways including bribery, embezzlement, extortion, and money laundering, as well as conflicts of interest, the trading of influence, the abuse of functions, and the obstruction of justice. Notably, innumerable graft cases reported in Kenya have involved public officers across different sectors and thus, safe to say public offices are a hotbed for corruption. The Constitution of Kenya is instrumental in the fight against corruption; Chapter Six provides for Leadership and Integrity, Article 10 provides for National Values and Principles of Governance, and last but not least Article 232 on Values and Principles of Public Service.
Based on the foregoing the fight against corruption largely featured in the 2022 elections campaign with all the four presidential aspirants and their deputies committing in public to fight the vice should they be elected to office. Obviously, there can be only one winner and at the end of what was a highly contested election, we have The Kenya Kwanza government in place. Barely a week into office, The Kenya Human Rights Commission’s attention has been drawn to the unprofound, reckless, and laissez-faire attitude of the top leadership in the fight against corruption pointing to a wrong start as far as the fight against corruption is concerned. Without a doubt, this move if not curtailed will result in continued economic regress subsequently denying ordinary citizens the opportunity to enjoy the socio and economic rights envisaged in the Constitution.
We, therefore, condemn in the strongest terms possible the utterances by the Deputy President, Mr. Rigathi Gachagua on September 15, 2022, directed to the office of the Director of Criminal Investigation during the Governors and Deputy Governors induction meeting in Mombasa. We call it for what it is: a scathing attack on an independent institution, abuse of office, misuse of power, and breach of the Constitution that he recently took an oath to uphold.
The office of the Directorate of Criminal Investigations just like all the other institutions and commissions of this stature is by law permitted to conduct its business with full autonomy including investigating graft cases/suspects despite their authority or position in government. The Deputy President has therefore no right to dictate how the office should carry out its responsibilities. The sanctity and independence of investigative agencies are critical in the war against graft, and we urge all Kenyans to reject any suggestions or proposals that elected leaders to be given preferential treatment in the event of graft implications. The fight against corruption is multifaceted requiring concerted efforts from the presidency, oversight agencies, law enforcement agencies, and adequate funding to successfully win.
- That the Government commits to ensuring that oversight, investigative, and law enforcement agencies are robustly financed and given independence to discharge their duties without political interference.
- The fight against corruption is tenable and must be urgently prioritised in current government’s agenda