Opinion on the arrests of National Treasury officials and a horde of others implicated in the Arror and Kimwarer dams scandal is divided.
On the one hand, a section of leaders, including Suba South MP John Mbadi, have called on Deputy President William Ruto and Senate majority leader Kipchumba Murkomen to resign following indictments over the scandal in which billions of shillings of taxpayers’ funds were lost.
On the other hand, claims of the corruption fight turning into a public relations gimmick were swift.
“DP Ruto and his henchmen, including (Kipchumba) Murkomen, came out to publicly state that there was no impropriety in the matter. The indictment by the Director of Public Prosecution is, by extension, also an indictment of the DP and the senator. They should apologise for misleading Kenyans,” Mr Mbadi, who is the national chairman of the Orange Democratic Movement, told the Nation.
Cherengany MP Joshua Kutuny offered to continue reminding Mr Murkomen and the DP to stop defending corruption.
“The indictments are a wake-up call to those who are quick to defend corruption. When the matter was being investigated, they cast aspersions on the DPP and DCI but evidence has exposed them. They should not mislead people [by saying] a community being targeted. This is war against the corrupt,” Mr Kutuny said.
The Cherangany legislator added that investigators should now move to unearth the faces of individuals behind the maize imports.
Murang’a Senator Irungu Kang’ata praised the DPP and DCI for concluding the investigations despite immense political pressure for them to stop the probe.
“The move is positive and good for the country in the fight against corruption. Article 27 of the Constitution says that all Kenyans are equal before the law. The high- profile arrests illustrate that there are no sacred cows. It is our work, as parliamentarians, to support the President in the fight against corruption and impunity,” he said.
Nominated Senator Isaac Mwaura also praised the arrest of the Treasury CS.
“Mr Rotich is one of the worst CSs in the history of Kenya. With his arrest, he should be removed from office forthwith. As a CS, he had no spine. He misadvised the country on the debt situation, which has totally messed up the economy. He should be properly prosecuted,” Mr Mwaura said.
Nyeri MP Ngunjiri Wambugu said that, while there was never any doubt that money had been lost in the dams scandal, the DCI and DPP proved the allegations were not a political witch-hunt, and that no one was “weaponising” the fight against corruption, as Team Tangatanga had claimed.
“Congratulations to the DCI (George) Kinoti and DPP (Noordin) Haji for not [bowing to] the vicious political attacks that were directed at you by Tangatanga when you started doing investigations into the Arror and Kimwarer dams,” Mr Wambugu said.
Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo Jr welcomed the arrest, saying the country will be curious to know the nature of the offences since the Treasury only releases funds.
“The role of the implementing ministries will be of interest to all of us. If the Treasury paid out money without due diligence, it will be their baby to carry,” the Makueni senator said.
Mr Murkomen, who is Elgeyo Marakwet Senator, read malice in the arrests and accused the DCI and DPP of yielding into pressure from certain quarters.
“There is no justice in this matter. These arrests are only being used to make a narrative that some individuals are corrupt,” he said.
“I can see the deliberate injustice that is being meted on the people of Elgeyo Marakwet County by killing these projects just to satisfy short-term political interests,” the senator remarked.
Belgut MP Nelson Koech said that the DCI and DPP had set the bar high, and should now go for other high-profile suspects mentioned in other cases.
Mr Cyprian Nyamwamu, an official of The Future of Kenya Foundation civil society group, called on the DPP to provide solid evidence in court during the prosecution of the suspects.
“Anything short of this will clearly demonstrate that the DPP is being used to settle political scores,” he said.