AGENCIES SHOULD PULL TOGETHER TO HALT CORRUPTION UNDER IMPETUS OF A NEW CHIEF JUSTICE

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With corruption admittedly costing the country Kshs.2 billion every day, only cooperation among stakeholders can halt it, a University lecturer has said.

Referring to recent expression of frustration by the country’s Director of Criminal Investigations (DCI), at how the courts had frustrated his efforts to secure prosecution in many corruption cases, the University Don, Dr. Sam Kamau proposed several solutions to the challenges. One of the key issues highlighted by the DCI, George Kinoti, was how issuing injunctions by Judiciary slowed the fight against graft.

The Don, in an article published in the dailies, prayed that Kenyan anti-crime agents unite and put to stop corruption. Dr. Kamau called on the anti-graft agencies and institutions involved in fighting corruption and crime to work in harmony and reinforce each other’s efforts. He said that rather than distracting or undermining each other, the institutions should support each other. “It is common knowledge corruption is one of the most intractable of the challenges retarding development in Kenya,” he said.

Challenging that “numerous efforts have been made to root out this scourge with little success”, the Don blamed what he referred to as “motion without movement” on the absence of commitment and goodwill among the leaders.
Dr. Kamau expressed concern that the key institutions, which ought to work in tandem to fight the menace, are pulling in different directions.

Following entry of a new and first female Chief Justice in Kenya, the lecturer saw this as a new opportunity. “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,” he said.

The Don called on the new Chief Justice, Lady Justice Martha Koome, whom he hailed as having a stellar record in leadership, “to interrogate the hurdles that stand in the way of a collaborative effort between and among anti-graft agencies.”

He expressed hope 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,” he said.

Dr. Kamau threw the gauntlet at Chief Justice Koome, saying she 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,” he said. Posing that fingers were pointed at her predecessor for rubbing many stakeholders the wrong way for “sticking to the letter of the law, even when it was its spirit that was needed more,” the scholar said that “she (New Chief Justice) needs to listen to stakeholders and find a workable solution that bring synergy and energy into the anti-graft war.”

These sentiments echo discussions among academia and other professionals on the need for government agencies to work together to tackle graft as well as the optimism that the new CJ brings a new impetus in the fight against corruption.

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