You can run but you cannot hide, Uhuru warns graft lords

You can run but you cannot hide, Uhuru warns graft lords
President Uhuru Kenyatta speaking during the 55th Jamhuri Day celebrations at Nyayo Stadium in Nairobi. PHOTO| PSCU

President Uhuru Kenyatta on Wednesday revisited the subject of graft several times in his Jamhuri Day speech, underscoring the government’s bid to deepen the war against corruption.

Addressing the nation as the country marked 55 years of independence, President  Kenyatta warned that those engaging in fraud and abuse of office that they can run but they cannot hide.

“We will catch up with you and make you pay dearly for every coin stolen from Kenyans,” said the President, adding that the current anti-corruption broom sweeping across the country will spare no one.

The Head of State cautioned the judiciary against giving graft suspects an easy ride, as he expressed his disappointment that graft suspects are using the courts to derail justice.

“Kenyan spirits are dampened when we witness suspects released on ridiculously low bail terms, interference in legislative processes and the use of the court process to delay justice,” said the President.

He challenged the judiciary to be wary of being misused to protect impunity and to curtail the work of investigative agencies.

“These individuals deserve fair trials but nothing more. I am again calling for the Judiciary to ensure that its procedures are not used to protect impunity,” said the President.

President Kenyatta said all arms of Government must work together to ensure Kenya gets rid of the corruption vice.

The celebrations at the Nyayo National Stadium which also marked the trooping of colours for the 17th Battalion, Kenya Rifles were attended by Deputy President William Ruto, First Lady Margaret Kenyatta, former First Lady Mama Ngina Kenyatta and opposition leaders Raila Odinga, Kalonzo Musyoka, Musalia Mudavadi and Moses Wetangula.

The trooping of colours ceremony included the presentation of Presidential and Regimental colours (flags) to the Battalion. The Presidential colour is trooped when a military Unit or Base performs a national ceremony in which the Commander-in-Chief or Head of State is honoured with a military parade known as Guard of Honour.

The President said there is a new wave of courage sweeping the country and individuals who always felt they were untouchable are being brought to book.

“Through the efforts of our investigative agencies and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, individuals who may have thought they were untouchable, are now facing the full force of the law. These individuals deserve fair trial but nothing more,” said the President.

He called on all Kenyans to stop watching from the side-lines and to play an active role in the war to stop graft from ruining the nation.

“It is time for you to say enough is enough, be it to a policeman or a governor, a clerk or a cabinet secretary, a judge or a politician,” said the Head of State.

He urged Kenyans to report all cases related to demands for bribes to their local Directorate of Criminal Investigations and the Ethics and Anti-corruption Commission.

“If they don’t listen, give the information to the media and to civil society actors to unmask these people. Do not tire of doing the right thing,” urged the President.

The President said that Kenya cannot afford to entertain corruption and misappropriation of public funds if it wants to ascend to the league of developed nations.

“Those countries that started out as poor as we were in the 1960s and today are prosperous, most of them in Asia, did so because they focused on development and did not entertain misappropriation of public resources,” said the President.

The President said he will preside over the national anti-corruption conference in early January which he expects to come up with a roadmap that will be adopted to further the war against corruption.

He said Kenya has achieved a major milestone in curtailing graft cartels in the education sector especially in the national examination system and the same can be replicated in many other sectors.

Additional reporting by PSCU

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