Kenya: What Groups Want Uhuru to Tackle in State of the Nation Address


Civil society organisations and religious groups have piled pressure on President Uhuru Kenyatta not to relent in his war on corruption.

The groups urged President Kenyatta to use the State of the Nation address set for Thursday to remind the corrupt that there will be no let-up in the fight.

They also want the President to enumerate measures that will ensure the fight is sustained and suspects convicted.

The address comes amid wrangles in Jubilee Party, with one of the factions accusing investigative agencies of being used in a proxy war to derail Deputy President William Ruto’s bid to succeed Mr Kenyatta.

‘NO DIVISION’

But on Monday, Senate Deputy Speaker Kithure Kindiki dismissed claims of division, assuring followers the party is united and ready to listen to Mr Kenyatta’s address.

“The differences in opinion between various Jubilee leaders is a show of freedom of expression and democracy. Both Houses are ready for the State of Nation address,” Prof Kindiki said.

Mr Maurice Odhiambo of the Referendum Debate Platform told the Nation on Monday that there is concern that the President could use the address to capitulate to sustained pressure from a section of Jubilee legislators.

“We fear that the President may be tempted to drop the ball owing to the pressure from a section of his party the country has been subjected to in the last few weeks. We hope it will not happen,” Mr Odhiambo said.

‘ACTION PLAN’

The Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims (Supkem) vice chairman Hassan ole Naado said the public expects a concrete action plan on corruption.

“Since the war started, there has been too much talk but no tangible action. This is the time for action… Kenyans are tired of rhetoric they want to see action,” Mr Naado said.

Mr Ronald Sunguti, the coordinator lay apostle at the Catholic Diocese of Nakuru, said he expects President Kenyatta to show how he intends to slay the corruption dragon and recover stolen assets.

“The President has outlined and given his assurance on the fight against corruption. We expect him to indicate how he intends to intensify the fight which has paralyzed development,” said Mr Sunguti.

But the cleric also wants Mr Kenyatta to address the issue of joblessness among the Kenyan youth.

SUCCESSION POLITICS

Rift Valley Council of Elders chairman Gilbert Kabage also thinks the President should address the tense relations between him and his deputy in recent weeks.

“I know the President has in the past steered clear of the 2022 debate despite the rising crescendo of anti-Ruto sentiments. But l want to call upon the Head of State to address and calm down the tension and infighting being witnessed. The Big Four Agenda cannot be achieved in this noise,” said Mr Kabage.

In Ugenya, some ODM legislators called for stronger laws to ensure the war on corruption is won.

Senate Minority Leader James Orengo and his National Assembly counterpart John Mbadi said there is need to amend the law to give more teeth to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) and the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) if the war on graft is to be won.

‘HANDSHAKE FEAR’

Addressing a rally for the ODM candidate in Ugenya by-election Christopher Karan, the leaders said corruption was a threat to the economy hence the need for concerted efforts to eliminate the vice.

“We need this referendum. It is high time we amended the law to give more powers to the government agencies charged with the responsibility of dealing with corruption without any manipulation” said Mr Mbadi.

Mr Orengo said the war on corruption has been politicised by people fighting the handshake because of the fear of the unknown.

“They think the hand shake is to deny them leadership. No. We are working together with President Uhuru Kenyatta to make Kenya better than we found it,” Mr Orengo said.

Gem MP Elisha Odhiambo and his Funyula counterpart Oundo Midenyo said the war on corruption will only be won if President Uhuru Kenyatta is willing to “call a spade a spade.”

“The President should not spare anyone even if it is his closest ally as he said while in Namibia last week” said Mr Odhiambo.

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Publish date : 2019-04-02 11:21:45

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