Presidents Buhari and Uhuru Losing War on Corruption

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By Kenya Confidential Transparency Editor, Mombasa – November 20, 2016

Buhari said corrupt people had accumulated a formidable arsenal of illicit wealth, which they were deploying against the government on diverse fronts

Recently Nigerian opposition and that of Kenya are painting very similar portraits of their countries presidents when it comes to the war on corruption. Nigerian oppositions says President Buhari’s anti-corruption war cannot succeed. Kenya’s opposition says President Uhuru has lost the war on corruption.

Two members of the Nigeria’s Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Board of Trustees, BoT, Ebenezer Babatope, and Shuaib Oyedokun, have said that President Muhamamdu Buhari’s anti-corruption war cannot succeed.

Speaking in separate telephone interviews, Babatope, and Oyedokun, described Buhari’s anti-corruption war, as selective, and vindictive.

This came as a reaction to the statement credited to Buhari, that some corrupt Nigerians, are using their stolen funds to wage war against his administration.

The President, in a meeting he had with the United States of America, USA, Secretary of State, John Kerry, on the side-line of the Conference on Climate Change, COP22, in Marrakech, Morocco, lamented that corruption was fighting back vigorously.

Buhari, had said corrupt people had accumulated a formidable arsenal of illicit wealth, which they were deploying against the government on diverse fronts.

Taking a swipe at Buhari, Oyedokun said, “If the President, who is fighting corruption, suddenly discovers that people who have stolen, are using the proceeds of corruption to fight him, I think it is an admission of failure.

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Corruption cannot be fought with corruption

“The President must be able to fish out those fighting him with corruption, and ensure they are tried. There are allegations of corruption among those that surround the President, and his party members.

“He (Buhari) won’t succeed, because he is using corruption to fight corruption. When someone loses a horse, and he unknowingly tells the person that stole the horse to help him find the horse, would the owner ever find the horse?”

Babatope, a former Minister of Transportation, on the other hand, accused Buhari of keeping silent on the allegations of corruption, against members of his political party.

He said, “It behoves the President, to point out those he says are using stolen wealth to fight him. It is not enough to just state that some people are using stolen wealth to fight him. He should mention names, and make sure they are prosecuted.

“The anti-corruption war will not succeed, because we’ve not defined what corruption is, who who are involved and who are guilty of corruption. Some people in Buhari’s government are corrupt, and he has not tried them. His anti-corruption war is selective, and vindictive. Let the President bring out the corrupt elements in his party, and use the same yardstick he’s been using for other people, on his party’s members.” Babatope declared

Also, the PDP as a political party, has dismissed the claim by the President, saying majority of the people in the All Progressives Congress, APC, came from the former ruling party. It said, that the President was using the war against corruption as vendetta against the opposition, adding that, the President was not sincere about it.

Spokesperson for the PDP, Prince Dayo Adeyeye, stated this in an interview, while reacting to the claim by the President.

He said the President was never serious about the war, which he said was aimed at members of the PDP alone. He stated, that rather than wage a holistic war, the President had refused to probe former members of the PDP, who defected to the APC.

Adeyeye added, “The President isn’t saying the truth about the so-called war against corruption, and he knows.

“That’s why he has been opening the door for those undergoing corruption trials, to cross over to the APC, and as soon as that is done, they become saints. Majority of the members of the APC today, are from the PDP. So, what has he done to those people? They have become saints, because they dumped the PDP” observed Adeveve.

“The President, must come out openly to tell Nigerians, why those people are no longer under the radar of the anti-corruption Agencies, just because they have joined the APC. He’s setting the Agencies against his perceived enemies, even in his party, the APC,” he added.

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President Uhuru is on record saying there is corruption his own Office of the President. He did not name names. On October 18, he hosted the Anti-Corruption and Governance Summit at State House and admitted he did not know how he would fight corruption. He asked corruption fighting agencies what they expected him to do after funding them and making sure their agencies were independent bodies. None offered him a solution.

Uhuru lamented of being frustrated by rampant corruption in the country despite his efforts to curb the vice. He said his administration had been on the fore front of the matter as compared to any other. “Show me an administration since independence that has taken action on corruption like I have,” said Uhuru.

Uhuru said he had provided all resources that institutions had asked for to be able to deal with corruption but no fruits were forthcoming. “If there is one issue that has frustrated me is corruption because the pressure is on me to do something about it,” said Uhuru, referring to it as an issue that has been at the centre stage of every Kenyan public debate.

Uhuru wondered why no progress has been made in the investigation of the public officials who had been named in the list of shame two years ago, putting to task Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission CEO Halakhe Waqo and Director of Public Prosecutions Keriako Tobiko who were among the Summit attendees.

Cord leader Raila Odinga dismissed President Uhuru Kenyatta’s assertion that agencies charged with fighting corruption had failed to do their job despite support from State House.

Instead, Raila, himself a former Prime Minister, argued the government had indirectly allowed corruption to thrive. “How is it that a government official is able to donate Sh50 million at church harambees? Where does he get the money?” he asked.

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