Prime Minister Raila Odinga and Justice Minister Martha Karua on Wednesday tore into the anti-corruption policy of the very Government they serve.By the virtue of their positions, the statements only added to the confusion that has characterized the war on corruption.As Prime Minister, Raila is charged with supervising and coordinating functions of Government, which has been the breeding ground for corruption. On her part, Karua is the custodian of the Justice machinery. In principle, the two should serve as the fulcrum around which the battle must be fought.
On his part, Raila appeared to plead lack of political will, but Karua attacked the Executive, accusing it of failing to live up to its promises.
And by calling for the return of celebrated anti-corruption czar John Githongo, who fled the country in 2005 amid claims that his life was in danger, Raila appeared to openly express dissatisfaction with the individuals and institutions charged with the task. Karua challenged the Grand Coalition to take the unique opportunity and bi-partisan approach and suggest policy and legal options to rid Kenya of corruption once and for all.“So long as we have pending cases of old corruption arising from transactions of Goldenberg, Anglo-Leasing and the Ndung’u Report, we cannot clear the backlog. The perception will be that the Government is still tolerating corruption,” Karua noted.
However, Raila and Karua admitted that the Government faced legal and policy hurdles in the fight against corruption.“While the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission tries to freeze assets acquired corruptly in foreign jurisdictions, our own courts have issued injunctions against the same,” Raila said.
Backing Karua’s stand on unfinished business of old corruption, Raila said it was embarrassing to see people named in corruption cases reports of Public Accounts Committee and Public Investments Committee of Parliament demonstrating and accusing others of the vice.