I am under pressure to sack people, Uhuru says

President Uhuru Kenyatta has finally confirmed that he is under pressure to fire corrupt civil servants and political appointees.

Prior to his State of the Nation address, talk in the country, in houses, offices, matatus and on social media was that the President had to announce drastic measures in the anti-graft war.

Some cheeky Kenyans even predicted what he would say and write parodies in form of media stories that predicted it will be business as usual; that there will be talk against corruption but no action.

In his speech, President Uhuru balanced the tough talk with respect for the Rule of Law.“I must, however, caution that the pursuit of the corrupt will be undertaken strictly within the remits of the law – and not through vigilante justice and pitchfork protest.  Though media narratives rally our resolve as they should, our actions will not be based on condemnation before one has been heard. The cornerstone of our democracy is the rule of law, and the principle of due process is a critical anchor.”

He added, “It is not enough to merely jail and fine those who have looted our public coffers. The wealth they stole from Kenyans must be returned to its owners, the People of Kenya with the clear message being that Corruption does not pay”.

Hours before the much awaited State of the Nation address, President Uhuru Kenyatta teased Kenyans with warning shots in his fight against the scourge of corruption.

State House, in a series of tweets, posted nine past quotes of President Kenyatta talking tough on corruption

“High net worth persons whose lifestyles are not reflective of the taxes that they pay must be compelled to demonstrate the source of their wealth and to contribute their share of taxes accordingly,” read one of the tweets.

It was then a no-brainer for most Kenyans –The State of the Nation address was yet again going to issue a warning to the corrupt.

And true to the déjà vu, the momentous event began with President Uhuru Kenyatta highlighting his resolve to end corruption.”I am well aware of the task ahead of us, no doubt, is enormous. But there is no turning back in our quest to transform our national economy to become truly an engine for creating jobs and opportunities for Kenyans,” he said.

He told the joint National Assembly and Senate that he was not turning back on his Big Four Agenda, Building Bridges Initiative and war against corruption.” There is no turning back on the war against corruption as it is a just war, a war to prevent misuse of public resources for selfish interests by those we have entrusted to manage them,” he said.

“We are not turning back because we are determined to gift our children a better Kenya than the one we inherited. A prosperous Kenya where respect for the rule of law and integrity are the accepted norms,” he continued.

Acknowledging that Kenyans were waiting to see more convictions of the corrupt, President said it will be done by the law and not ‘vigilante justice and pitchfork protests’.”I’ve been under pressure to answer who I am sacking, I must, however, caution that the pursuit of the corrupt will be undertaken strictly within the limits of the law,” he said amidst cheers from the legislators.

“We have effectively adopted a ‘follow-the-money’ approach to investigations and prosecutions that will continue to be strengthened and applied across the range of serious crimes, including economic ones,” he said, assuring Kenyans that the looted funds will be recovered.

In his last year’s address, he acknowledged that there had been a challenge in the use of public resources where some individuals had fraudulently diverted resources to benefit themselves instead of Kenyans.

He warned leaders against misusing public resources saying they would be held accountable as the war against graft intensifies.

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