Anthony Mwangi, Alvin Kariuki and PSCU @PeopleDailyKe
President Uhuru Kenyatta says he is ready to lose more friends in the current war against corruption, even as Opposition leader Raila Odinga said the fight should focus on asset recovery.
The President said he had lost many friends in the last few weeks but vowed that the government would not relent until the battle to rid Kenya of corruption and impunity is won.
“I have lost close friends over the war on corruption. We must be ready to lose friends and do what is right in the eyes of God,” said Uhuru, adding that the country stands on the threshold of transformation.
The Head of State spoke at the Faith Evangelistic Ministry (FEM) church in Karen, Nairobi where he joined thousands of worshippers for a Sunday service that also marked the beginning of week-long conference at the sanctuary.
Uhuru also revealed he had been receiving calls to stop the ongoing demolition of buildings erected on riparian land in Nairobi but stated the government would not relent in the current drive which demonstrates commitment to end impunity and restore the rule of law.
The Head of State said individuals making the calls to him were wondering how he could remain silent and watch buildings worth billions brought down.
“We must fight impunity not because we want to destroy for the sake of it. If we do not fight impunity, we will not achieve our goals. For the country to succeed we must fight corruption and impunity,” he said.
Separately, while supporting the efforts to root out the vice Raila urged the government to dedicate substantial energy and resources towards asset recovery to ensure suspects do not hide ill-gotten wealth or access and use them to undermine justice.
But The Law Society of Kenya (LSK) expressed concern over the arrests of suspects at the weekend, terming it draconian because they remain in custody before they are charged.
LSK President Allen Gichuhi said such action goes against the fundamental rights of accused. “The rights of an accused person should be respected and accorded human dignity.”
Raila said Kenyans need the money returned to the public to finance the many gaps in development plans, including repayment of the ever-rising foreign debts.
He said partly because of wanton theft of public funds including those from donors, taxes were going up on virtually everything.
Ordinary Kenyans, he said, “must not continue to bear this burden” while the corrupt keep and enjoy their loot.
Raila said asset recovery must be seen and felt in the anti-corruption crusade, adding that corrupt actors must be deprived of their ill-gotten wealth.
Ealrier the President who was joined by Deputy President William Ruto at the church service said the sustained war against graft is aimed at creating a conscientious nation that respects, treasures and values hard work and integrity.
“Let’s develop a nation that has a conscience and one that is driven by God-fearing people,” he said.
The Head of State added that corruption was one of the forces that keeps frustrating national dreams including access to quality education, quality health care, decent meals for all, and quality jobs that give pride and dignity to Kenyans. He said the envisaged transformation of the nation could not succeed as long as corruption was allowed to continue destroying the nation.
“We must fight all forces that prevent us from achieving our dreams,” said the President who was hosted at the FEM church by its founder Evangelist Teresia Wairimu.
Uhuru told the congregants the anti-corruption war would not be based on how much money an individual had amassed or who the person knows neither the influence he yields.
“We must reach to a stage in our country where it is not who you know…that you know the President, that you know the minister, that you know who is who in which office. That should not be. That’s not what makes a human being,” he said.