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Uhuru Kenyatta warns political allies amid graft probes

Friday March 22 2019

ANITA CHEPKOECH
By ANITA CHEPKOECH
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President Uhuru Kenyatta has fired yet another warning to the corrupt, saying he is ready to fight his “closest political ally, brother or sister” if they steal from Kenyans.

In a warning shot that political pundits say was directed at his deputy William Ruto and his allies, Mr Kenyatta on Friday said he would not compromise in his quest for a good legacy.

“I won’t be clouded by ethnicity or status in my quest to leave behind a united nation and I will continue championing for Kenya’s unity,” he tweeted in reference to his newfound love with Orange Democratic Movement leader Raila Odinga, with whom they are working to heal the wounds of 2017-18 divisive elections and end political animosity.

But controversy surrounds the tweet that was based on the comments Mr Kenyatta made while addressing Kenyans in Windhoek, Namibia, where he is on a state visit, after his Twitter and Facebook accounts were suspended minutes later.

'EDITED OUT'

The part referring to “closest political ally” was also edited out in video clips the Presidential Strategic Communications Unit sent to newsrooms.

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It was not immediately clear if the edits and suspension of Mr Kenyatta’s two accounts were linked to his attack on his political marriage partner in Jubilee Party and his allies.

The President’s comments came days after Dr Ruto said the ongoing war on grand corruption and brazen theft of public resources is targeting him and his 2022 presidential ambitions.

Dr Ruto and his allies claim the fight against corruption has been selective and that President Kenyatta and Mr Odinga are using the Director of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti to trump up charges against ministers and officials allied to the DP.

“There has been an attempt to hijack war on corruption and turn it into war against specific individuals… A war on corruption that lacks integrity becomes corruption itself. A war that lacks integrity is impunity,” Mr Ruto said on Wednesday.

'AVOID BACKLASH'

Mr Joel Soi, a political analyst and lecturer at Kabianga University, believes that the President meant what he tweeted and that the move to suspend the account moments after, was to avoid a backlash from Kenyans, especially those allied to Mr Ruto.

“The President wants to reiterate his commitment to fight against corruption and prove wrong politicians who claim that he is being used by Raila to fight selective battles,” said Mr Soi.

“The President could be avoiding confrontation by cutting the direct communication and response to him by those who raise issues against him on social media, especially now that the files incriminating suspects of the dams’ scandal are ready and arrests could happen any time,” he said.

But according to Mr Nzioka Waita, the chief of staff in the Office of the President, the suspension of Mr Kenyatta’s social media accounts was because they had been hacked.

“On account of unauthorised access to the official social media handles of H. E the President of the Republic of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta, all official social media handles for the president have been temporarily suspended to allow for necessary remedial measures to be undertaken,” he tweeted.