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By EDITORIAL
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The anti-corruption conference convened under the auspices of the multi-sectoral group that ended in Nairobi Friday came at an opportune moment when the country is grappling with strategies to extinguish the vice. Corruption stands out as one of the major threats to the country’s social, economic and political advancement. It has eaten deep into the nation’s fabric and undermined all institutions, starting from the Executive to the Judiciary and all the way to the grass roots.

Right from the outset, it is paramount to acknowledge that convening the conference was itself a great step. Kenyans from all walks of life got an opportunity to express their abhorrence to corruption. All agreed that decisive actions must be taken to end the vice and reverse the country’s slide to chaos.

Corruption is costly. Major infrastructural developments have stalled because of it. Those completed are done at exorbitantly higher costs, leaving Kenya with huge debts and deep financial holes. Provision of social services such as education and training, as well as medical care, among others is severely compromised. Frequent terror attacks in Kenya, including last week’s at Dusit Complex in Nairobi, are inextricably tied to corruption.

Tragically, corruption fights back and hard. The corrupt have networks everywhere and therefore able to evade arrest and prosecution, which is the cause of discontent against various agencies involved in the fight against the vice.

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The challenge, however, is the approach. In recent times, the Director of Criminal Investigations and the Director of Public Prosecution have stood as the high priests in the war against graft and with commendable enthusiasm. However, there is discontent regarding the outcome of their work. Most of the suspects caught in corrupt deals have not been convicted, raising deep concerns about the Judiciary’s facilitative role in ending the iniquity.

Indeed, the emerging narrative is that the Judiciary is becoming a stumbling block and for that reason has received so much flak. To some extent, there is reason for that given the delays in discharging legal suits, numerous pre-emptive orders and injunctions even when the matters look pretty straight forward. But the converse is true. Most of the cases are hurriedly taken to court without concrete evidence, hence technically defective. This is the point Chief Justice David Maraga made Friday, challenging the investigators and prosecutors to do thorough groundwork before presenting cases in court.

War on corruption cannot be won through buck-passing, name-calling, procrastination or conjecture; but through well-thought out strategies that include professional investigations and prosecution and a citizenry socialised against the evil.



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