By Githae Mwangi
Ever since the new administration was sworn in, we have witnessed a withdrawal of high profile corruption cases by the Director of Public Prosecutions, including those against President Ruto’s nominees for Cabinet secretary positions.
The government has tried to explain these withdrawals by alleging the DPP did not have an iota of evidence against these people and the charges were instigated by former President Kenyatta’s administration to try and curtail the then defiant UDA brigade.
In support of this argument, some quotas have gone as far as to claim the former president asked the DPP to write a resignation letter against his will, which the president would accept if the DPP failed to comply with his administration’s instructions.
Of course no one has provided any evidence to support these allegations.
However, withdrawing these cases has raised questions as to the credibility of the DPP; is he acting under duress?
Was he coerced by the former administration to fabricate charges against these politicians in the first place?
Regardless of the answers to these questions, the DPP must resign because Kenyans have lost confidence in him, continuing to serve in the position undermines the war against corruption, and he is a threat to individual freedoms and rights.
Kenyans have Lost Confidence in Haji
The recent withdrawal of high profile corruption cases have led Kenyans to lose confidence in the DPP.
One of the questions that Kenyans are asking is if it is true that he did not have enough evidence to charge these people, why did he present them in court in the first place?
The DPP has the right to ask the DCI to conduct more investigations if he feels the evidence before him is not enough to charge the suspect in court.
Therefore, he should have requested for more investigations in this case and presented a water tight case later on but he did not do that.
Further, if it is true he was coerced by the previous government to fabricate these charges, why would anyone believe he is not being coerced by the current administration to drop them?
Currently, there are at least three petitions to remove him from office Kenyans have filed before the Public Service Commission. Moreover, the Law Society of Kenya has protested these withdrawals, going as far as urging the judiciary to look into the DPP’s requests suspiciously.
These occurrences and Kenyans’ suspicions show the country has lost confidence in him.
The office of the Director of Public Prosecutions is a crucial pillar in the administration of justice and if the people are not confident he is acting independently and in their interest, then he has no business serving them in that capacity.
As things stand, they have very little if not zero trust in him. Therefore, he must resign.
Haji Undermines the War against Corruption
The withdrawal of these cases does not inspire the war against corruption.
During the campaign period, all the four presidential candidates agreed corruption was one of the biggest threats the country was facing, apart from the ballooning public debt and rising food prices.
Consequently, they all pledged to fight it if Kenyans voted for them to steer the country in the next five years. One month after being elected, President Ruto has made a drastic U-turn.
In such a short period of time, the DPP has dropped all the high profile corruption cases, jeopardizing the war against corruption, providing a leeway for the president to appoint the suspects to high office.
Consequently, some factions have started calling for the release of those already convicted of corruption, such as Waluke, who was recently sentenced to over sixty years in prison for defrauding the National Cereals Board KSH 200 million.
Therefore, it is evident that these withdrawals are having a ripple effect among Kenyans; the DPP’s actions are convincing them the war against corruption is an empty promise and consequences of engaging in it are close to nonexistent depending on who you know.
Perception matters, and if Kenyans are not convinced getting involved in corruption has dire consequences, they will continue engaging it and the country’s development agenda will continue to be strangled.
Therefore, to build the lost perception back and re-inspire the fight against corruption, the DPP must resign.
Haji is a threat to Everyone’s Individual Rights and Freedoms
Since the DPP seems to be acting under duress, or has acted under duress before, he is a threat to everyone’s individual rights and freedoms.
If he was coerced by the former president to interfere with the rights and freedoms of the accused, then he can be coerced to mess with anyone’s rights and freedoms.
Moreover, if he is acting under duress of the current president to withdraw the cases against his allies, then he can be coerced to drop cases of individuals harming others by interfering with their freedoms and rights.
President Ruto has promised not to abuse his power, but clearly, people are safe because of this promise, not because of the integrity of the DPP.
This in itself is not encouraging. Kenyans need to have confidence in the judicial system, including in its outstanding independence.
If the DPP is not independent, what stops those in power from using it to interfere with Kenyans’ rights?
Therefore, no Kenyan, especially government critiques is safe as long as the current DPP continues to serve in his current position.
Therefore, he must resign.
Clearly, Haji is compromised whether he acted under duress from the former administration when he presented corruption cases against President Ruto’s allies or is currently being coerced to withdraw those cases so that the president can appoint the accused to high offices.
The withdrawal of these high profile corruption cases has led to Kenyans losing confidence in him, undermined the fight against corruption, and implied a threat on everyone’s rights and freedoms.
Therefore, he must resign and pave way for the recruitment of a new DPP, who will re-inspire confidence in the judicial system and promote the rule of law.
Githae Mwangi is a political and current affairs commentator