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Graft war will save resources, Uhuru tells devolution summit

Tuesday March 5 2019

GRACE GITAU
By GRACE GITAU
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KENNEDY KIMANTHI
By KENNEDY KIMANTHI
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President Uhuru Kenyatta wants investigative agencies given room to do their work in the war on corruption, which he notes robs the public of resources it is in dire need of.

While opening the 6th annual Devolution Conference in Kirinyaga County on Tuesday, President Kenyatta also noted that the war targets neither individuals not communities.

President Kenyatta condemned leaders opposed to anti-corruption efforts, saying they had taken the debate to funeral and wedding ceremonies and alleged that there were specific targets.

Noting that his government was simply dealing with a crime that had limited growth, he told them, "Who do you have to fear? If you are arrested you will have a chance to defend yourself. If people do not stop attacking you, get your lawyer and go to court."

He said, “This is not a war against an individual or community but a war against a crime that robs us of the opportunity to build a nation."

PERSONAL ATTACKS

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The head of State further said that threats and blackmail directed at him will not derail the fight.

He told those who think he has stolen public funds to file their reports with the Directorate of Criminal investigations instead of attempting to intimidate him.

Nilisikia mwingine akisema sijui nimeiba mali ya nani. Mimi ninamwambia tembea kwa DCI useme ambacho Uhuru ameiba. Hii tabia ya kutishatisha watu ati kwa sababu umetaja mazishi lazima iishe (I heard someone say that I had stolen another's property. I advise him to go to the DCI. The intimidation of people at funerals must stop)," he said.

COUNTY LEVEL

Mr Kenyatta also asked governors to help fight the vice by taming it at staff level in the devolved units.

Regarding high wage bills in counties, partly due to huge expenditures on salaries, Mr Kenyatta said he will call a stakeholders' meeting for discussions on lowering the figures.

He did not specify any counties but said one had 6,000 employees and spent Sh6 billion out of Sh9 billion on its recurrent budget while another spent Sh6 million to oversee the use of Sh800 million.

Due to cases such as these, he said, parts of the country were not being developed, at Kenyans' expense.

Deputy President William Ruto, who spoke before the President, urged counties to increase their revenue streams to meet the financial shortfall and end their overreliance on the National Treasury.

He noted that the government signed deals with several countries, thereby presenting opportunities for the export of horticulture, tea, coffee and other crops.

PAST CALLS

Earlier, Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka hit out at a section of Jubilee Party members, accusing them of politicising the war on corruption.

The opposition politician asked the Deputy President to give detectives time to conclude investigations into allegations that taxpayers lost billions of shillings in tenders for construction of Kimwarer and Arror dams.

Senate majority leader Kipchumba Murkomen (Elgeyo Marakwet) had accused politicians of using investigative agencies to push their political agenda and plot against their rivals.

“Let us allow independent institutions to do their jobs without our instructions ... without trying to push our political agenda,” he said earlier.